Thursday, August 24, 2006

Mall Rats

Granger Elementary had one major flaw in it's 50 year history: it allowed itself to be located next to an ambitious city's only mall. I am sure that the school was there first, but somewhere in the course of time, the property dedicated to education became "otherwise" valuable.

West Valley City, Utah wants a better mall. A cool mall, a "got-to-be-there" mall. In order to do this they need big names in retail to bring in lots of no name customers. The bigger the name, the more customers. Costco, one of only a handful of stores to which I actually like going, was to be the first of these big names. Costco is to be the first major addition to the new and improved Valley Fair Mall. They needed the kids' space and they got it.

The school, amidst protests from concerned parents, was torn down and is currently being cleared away. Once done, construction will immediately start on the new Costco and thus the first phase to breathe life into a really bad mall will begin. Now to be fair, a new school, a better school, will be built to replace the old one in another location and according to all involved, a better location. Costco is flipping part of the bill as is West Valley City.

The new Costco is said to be open by Christmas. Wow! That seems rather ambitious and quite remarkable. West Valley City will be seeing revenue as early as this winter and Costco will benefit from the Seasonal shopping.

The new school? Not quite so fast. The new school project is projected to be an 18 month project. The school district has the money, but I was unable to find out the start date. In the meantime the students will move into the abandoned Woodrow Wilson Elementary, which is 81 years old, and await the completion of their new and improved school.

I really like the Mall project but I have to admit: It all looks funny to me. It just seems like the proper thing to do was to build the new school first, move the kids in, tear down the old school, and then start building Costco. Maybe I'm just old fashion. Maybe I'm naive. Maybe I'm just out of my mind but I think it's hard to sell kids on "stay in school", when we obviously would rather have a store.

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