Higher Learning in Park City
BY CRAIG ELLIOTT
Principal, Elliott Workgroup Architecture
Discussion has been brewing in Park City about what can be done to create a more stable and broader based economy. This conversation has sparked the interest of many in both the private and public sectors. There is a group of people in town that believe Park City should stay exactly the same, but nobody agrees on what that “same” is. In fact, that “same” may be more connected to when an individual arrived in town as opposed to representing any magical period in time. The truth, however, is that change is inevitable and Parkites can either help shape it or choose to do nothing and watch it happen. With the knowledge of this truth in hand, I’ve taken the time to think about what change might look like.
After looking to other places for inspiration and much consideration about what Park City is, I have come to believe that Park City should create a collegiate-level learning center — a center that builds on the values held by the community and activities its citizens and visitors engage in.
A quality program of higher learning will bring to Park City the youthful energy of students excited to study their chosen profession and the experience and culture of an educated teaching staff. The addition of this element to Park City will provide a whole new dimension to the community.
- A culinary Institute where students have the opportunity to hone their skills in the real world of Park City restaurants.
- A Film School satellite campus where film students experience the Sundance Film Festival as part of their education.
- An Art Institute. Sculpture. Painting. Performance. Creation. Beauty in so many forms.
- A Music School that will produce a musical voice that speaks to the world and conveys the values nurtured in this great mountain community.
- A School of Industrial Design that will both interact with the local outdoor recreation industry to test its products and simultaneously support it.
- A program that provides degrees in Hotel Management and Hospitality and has the ability to create internship positions in resorts of the highest ratings here in Park City.
- A Technology Center that allows students and professors to research alternative energy solutions and use the abundant sunshine and natural resources in the area as a test grounds.
- A remote Campus of a Utah college or university that partners with Park City High School, provides the required courses for the focused satellite campuses, and provides the opportunity for programs in liberal arts and sciences.
Collegiate-level learning in Park City will support cultural growth in the community, and will engage a dialogue about almost anything and everything. Schools will bring the energy and passion of students and with them much more to the economy. Students will bring discretionary spending, require the construction of facilities of higher learning, will have housing needs, and create the need for additional services. Maybe most importantly, students will bring the value of added creative capital.
In an interview with Steve Jobs a year after he was first diagnosed with cancer he said: “Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is, everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you … the minute that you understand that you can poke life … that you can change it, you can mold it … that’s maybe the most important thing.”
Now, imagine if we were too afraid to try.
Craig Elliott is a Park City Architect who has maintained an office on Main Street since 2002. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Kansas, School of Architecture and Urban Design and has served on the Board of Directors for the American Institute of Architects Utah Chapter. He has worked for over a decade to leave Park City better than he found it.
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