OUTDOORS & RECREATION

Some Salt Lake high school facilities closed to the public due to irresponsible dog owners

Apr 23, 2024, 10:13 PM | Updated: Apr 24, 2024, 11:27 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Publicly funded facilities are not open to the public, and that’s the case for the tennis courts and fields at a handful of Salt Lake City high schools.

Peter Bublik said the courts in the Granite School District, specifically Skyline and Olympus High Schools, used to be open on evenings and weekends but are now locked up. Bublik said he had played tennis on those courts several times for nearly a decade.

“It seemed like they were kind of locking up more and more and now they’re just locked permanently,” Bublik said.

A spokesperson for Granite School District, Ben Horsley, said the schools are locking them due to vandalism, with one primary issue: dog owners.

“These are not dogparks,” Horsely said.

Signs on one of the tennis courts listing the community rules.

Signs on one of the tennis courts listing the community rules. (KSL TV)

He said the new tracks, turf fields, and tennis courts are closed to dogs, but that does not stop people from bringing their pets and not cleaning up after them.

“We put up signs, and people are disrespectful to the extent that they expect these facilities to be pretty much their dog park,” Horsley said.

The district’s goal was to provide a place for communities to utilize the school facilities, but that’s not a hard-fast rule.

“Under state statute, there’s what’s called a community center statute that says if the facility is not being used for an educational purpose, that we should try our best to make it available to the public,” Horsley said.

But Horsley said that doesn’t override protecting public investment

Bublik said he hadn’t seen vandalism or misuse in the courts.

“I haven’t seen dog poop ruin anything. I mean, it’s inconvenient, and it might be gross,” Bublik said.

Still, Bublik believes the community should police it, and the courts should stay open.

“I think that most people are responsible, and they take off the facilities because, once again, they’re in their communities, and I think because if there’s a couple of people that left some dog poop behind, I don’t think that means that nobody gets to use it,” he said.

Horsley said the school board will reevaluate the policy on what will happen in the future. Still, for now, if no one is available to oversee the campus, the facilities will likely be closed for public use.

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Some Salt Lake high school facilities closed to the public due to irresponsible dog owners