Stoker School

Answers to

Frequently Asked Questions


Why can’t Stoker be saved?

  • Preserving Stoker was our original hope. Unfortunately, the building is too weak and the methods for strengthening are far too costly to pursue. Measures used by the LDS Church to rebuild the Provo Tabernacle are similar to what would need to be done to reinforce Stoker. Tens of millions of dollars would be required.

  • Now that City leadership has substantiated knowledge of structural deficiencies and potential risk to inhabitants, doing nothing is no longer an option.  While Stoker will be removed in 2017, the City hopes to celebrate the spirit of Stoker in other ways moving forward.  Bountiful City is working closely with the Utah Division of State History, as well as the Bountiful Historical Society, to select and preserve important artifacts.  As the Downtown Plaza is designed, the City is considering ways to appropriately honor and remember this school and the community spirit that it has engendered

Can’t Stoker be used as an education hub for Davis County?

Strict interpretation of code would allow Stoker to continue to be used for the same purpose – as a school.  However, complex engineering studies and analysis have made it clear that the building is not structurally sound.  City leadership has a moral responsibility to make decisions based on substantiated knowledge of extensive structural deficiencies and potential risk to inhabitants.  Doing nothing is no longer an option.  

Why doesn’t the City commission an additional study for a second opinion?

The methods used by Dunn Associates to test the building's strengths are industry standard and would be performed in exactly the same way by any other reputable structural engineer. The structural analysis portion of the study alone carried a price tag of about $40,000. Seeking another study would not be fiscally responsible. There is no need to retest the building.  

What would it cost to make Stoker School structurally sound and safe?

Considering the building is not structurally sound, and a very conservative estimate puts the price tag at $30 to $40 million to make it so.  The Bountiful City Council concluded that it is not fiscally responsible to fix the building andit is morally irresponsible to let people continue to use the building in its current state.

Why is the City eager to act on this now? Isn’t this a quick decision?

The City has gathered data and analyzed options for over two years. The process has been very detailed and deliberate.  Prior to the structural analysis of Stoker was complete the City had hoped to repurpose Stoker School as a city hall. The results were disheartening, but revealed the extent to which the structural integrity was compromised. Unfortunately, methods for strengthening were estimated in the 10s of millions of dollars; as such, measures are far too costly to pursue.

What will happen with the University of Utah and programs that were located at Stoker School?

  • The U of U has no plans to open an alternate center in Davis County. Lynn Bennett, who served as Bountiful U of U Campus director, cites declining enrollment brought on by increasing University of Utah online class offerings and the growth of WSU’s Davis Center campus in Layton. Bountiful U of U campus Enrollment had dipped to around 350 students, down from a peak of 600 to 700 per semester in the 1980s and 1990s. The University of Utah also closed a site it operated in Murray in May 2016. Two face-to-face sites outside the main Salt Lake City campus will remain, in St. George and Sandy.
  • The Ceramics program, pioneered and taught in Bountiful by John and Diane Shaw, will be missed. The City has collaborated with the U of U in an attempt to find an alternative location.  However due to the indoor and outdoor space requirements for production, storage, and kiln, no viable solution has been reached. The U of U will continue to offer ceramics education at its Salt Lake City campus.  

What will happen with the Farmers’ Market and Food Truck League that have been held near Stoker School?

  • The Food Truck League has temporarily moved South on Main Street to the space west of City Hall and south of the Bountiful Library.  It features different offerings from 5 pm – dusk every Friday evening through spring and summer.  Operations will “truck” on over to the prior location upon completion of the Downtown Plaza. See
  • The Farmer’s Market has temporarily moved operations to the park on 400 North – near the South Davis Recreation Center, every Thursday 3 pm – dusk throughout the summer.  The Farmer’s Market will return to its prior location upon completion of the Downtown Plaza.

What will happen with the parcel of ground Stoker is located on?

  • The City has received much community support for establishing what has been referred to as the “Downtown Plaza.” 
  • While nothing is yet designed, but the overarching purpose is a truly unique “gathering place.  The plaza will create a multi-use space that is inviting to families and functional for events and activities such as concerts, the Farmers Market, Chalk Art Festival, Rotary Car Show, etc.  An interactive water feature, public seating, adequate parking, and abundant green space have all been suggested as part of the plan.  The City has received and will continue to invite input from neighbors, businesses, and the public in general.

What are the plans to honor Stoker School?

  • Bountiful City partnered with the Bountiful Historical Foundation and the University of Utah to hold public Stoker School Commemoration Open House Tours and Program (May 4  - 6, 2017)
  • Stoker School will be remembered at the new Bountiful Historical Museum -305 N Main St, Bountiful, UT 84010 (Currently under renovation) . Museum, Grand Opening is tentatively set to open in conjunction with Handcart Days, July 2017
  • The city is working closely with the Utah Division of State History, as well as the Bountiful Historical Society, to select and preserve important artifacts
  • While the plans are not set, as the Downtown Plaza is designed, the City is considering ways to honor and remember this school and the community spirit that it has engendered.

How can I share my memories?

We strengthen our future by preserving the past.  Bountiful Historical Preservation Foundation invites you to share your memories and photos.  If you would like to share memories of Stoker, or obtain a Stoker School History, please contact the Bountiful Historical Preservation Foundation at (801) 296-2060.  (You may also email memories to Mr. Stick Hill of the Historical Preservation.)

Wouldn’t better upkeep of Stoker have prevented this situation?

Damage from water and other minor external factors were not considered as a part of the testing – nor the reason for the building being determined “structurally unsound.” In depth professional analysis determined that the building is weak because of poor original construction methods/materials and the manner in which the original structure was modified over the years; no amount of routine maintenance would have been able to rectify instability caused by original construction subsequent renovations.

Isn’t there a deed restriction on this property that prevents the city from removing it?

Though this is a rumor that has been circulating, the answer is “no.” The property was officially deeded to Bountiful City June 19, 1986.  The warrantee deed has no restrictions attached to it.  

What is next?

In a meeting June 27, the city council approved a demolition contract with Mkp Enterprises.  Work is expected to begin on July 25 with a completion target by the end of October.

The current plan is to build a city plaza, a gathering place, in this space.  While no firm plans for the plaza have been set, the City has received a large amount of public input and will be seeking additional input to help guide those future plans.  It is hoped that plaza construction will ensue in the summer of 2018.