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The City Journals

Granite High medallions, plaques preserved by SSL

Jun 23, 2017 11:52AM ● By Travis Barton

Along with two name plaques, two medallions found on the outside of the Granite High School building were preserved by the city prior to demolition. (South Salt Lake)

By Travis Barton | [email protected]

With Granite High School’s long, winding journey coming to an end and its demolition underway, conversation surrounding the property turned to preservation of the school’s memorabilia and decals.

That’s what the South Salt Lake City Council discussed during its May 24 work meeting—the role it plays in that preservation. The city discussed the possibility of purchasing certain items that the demolition company, or alternate companies, would remove prior to its razing. 

Mike Florence, director of community and economic development, reported to the city council the demolition company’s bids to remove various items from the school for preservation.

Relief murals of the track and field runner and football player would cost $3,800. The scoreboard ran about $3,600. A 1939 dedicatory plaque with Franklin D. Roosevelt’s name along with a board of education plaque that includes Philo T. Farnsworth as a member were each $3,100. 

The school archway would’ve been about $94,000 while two name plates on the archway were about $2,400 each. 

Florence said these items could be placed in a city or county building such as a new library. 

“These things can help decorate those walls or be a part of a park…to help remember the history of Granite High School,” he said. 

South Salt Lake ended up acquiring two architectural medallions and two Granite name plaques, said Francis Lilly, deputy director of community and economic development. He added Granite School District is preserving the rest minus the monument sign, scoreboard and the round farmers sign from inside the gym. 

Final prices for what those items cost the city was unavailable at press time. 

During the May 24 meeting, Councilman Kevin Rapp said this responsibility shouldn’t fall upon the city and its constituents, many of whom, including Rapp, didn’t attend the school nor feel any emotional attachment to it. 

“This is the alumni association’s responsibility, not the taxpayers of the city,” Rapp said. “Yes, it’s sad that the school’s coming down, but I didn’t go to that school so it doesn’t mean anything to me, and there’s a lot of other taxpayers out there that it doesn’t mean anything to them either.”

But Councilman Ben Pender said it was a landmark in the community and felt the council had an obligation to preserve a few items for display in the city. 

“I’m not saying spend $100,000, but I think we should spend something to preserve some of these items,” Pender said. 

Merili Carter of the Granite Alumni Association and Utah Arts Alliance later said during that night’s city council meeting they would be happy to fundraise for it and push whatever funds they could towards preservation. 

“Anything we can do to help,” she told the city council. “I’ll donate my time.”

Councilmembers expressed interest in ways to possibly preserve items like the archway by incorporating other groups such as the county library system or the Granite Alumni Association. 

Among the items salvaged by the Granite School District were the school seal and some stained-glass windows. The seal, Councilman Shane Siwik said, was “probably the most iconic part of the school.” 

“Tradition was if you walked on (the seal) you had to clean it with a toothbrush,” he said. 

The city was able to collect smaller items such as yearbooks, trophies and other memorabilia. 

Bricks from the school will be available for the public to pick up at a date to-be-determined by the district.