Dixie Sunbowl could get new neighbor if property sale goes through

Interior of the Dixie Sunbowl, St. George, Utah, Jan. 20, 2015 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – The Dixie Sunbowl may have a new future neighbor if a property sale between the City of St. George and the Washington County School District is approved by the St. George City Council Thursday. The pending sale is part of a three-way deal between the city, the school district and Dixie State University concerning the need for a new elementary school, the needs of the growing university, and the once questionable future of the Sunbowl.

West of the Sunbowl is the Elks Baseball Field and a series of horseshoe pits, covering about 6 acres between 100 South and 200 South in St. George. Considered surplus city property, it is slated to be sold to the Washington County School District as a site for a new elementary school in the downtown area that would replace the aging East Elementary School on 600 East.

“We are looking to see if that will work as a new elementary school site,” St. George Mayor Jon Pike said. “We are of the firm belief that having an exciting new facility – the elementary school – in the heart of St. George would help us even more to bring families and keep families in central St. George.”

A new school would be an economic benefit to the area, Marc Mortensen, assistant to the city manager for the City of St. George, said. It is also believed the school will help with the city’s continuing revitalization efforts in the downtown area.

A 6-acre plot is limited compared to the larger areas elementary schools typically cover, but the school district is considering building a multistory structure to suit its needs.

In turn, the eventual building of a new elementary school could open up the way for Dixie State University to purchase the existing East Elementary School building from the school district. University officials want to expand DSU’s campus in order to accommodate growing student enrollment. The Utah Legislature has already set aside $1.5 million for DSU to use for that purpose.

While the pending property sale is set between the city and the school district, neither the school district nor DSU has issued any public statements concerning where their own plans currently stand.

Before the City Council will vote on whether or not to approve the sale of the Elks Field property Thursday night, public comment will be taken on the matter. The council meeting will be held at 5 p.m. at the City Offices, located at 175 E. 200 North in St. George.

When talks between the three parties began more than two years ago, the Sunbowl property itself was considered a potential site for the new elementary school. It was a notion that didn’t sit well with long-term city residents who wanted to preserve the 66-year-old structure. The Sunbowl even become an issue for mayoral and City Council candidates during the 2013 municipal elections.

Pike previously told St. George News the City Council was 100 percent behind preserving the Sunbowl.

“We’re not talking about tearing it down and building a new one,” Pike said.

He added that the city is working on having the Sunbowl used on a more ongoing basis and not just for one or two big events during the year. One possibility is promoting the use of the Sunbowl as a sports field.

We’re hoping that soccer and maybe football (can be played) at the Sunbowl,” Pike said, adding that the city has recently put down sod in the Sunbowl.

“We have nice, green grass in there now,” he said.

The city will likely be making various improvements to the Sunbowl, some of which may be completed through funding from RAP tax revenues and possibly private contributions, Pike said.

RAP tax funds may also go toward building replacements for the horseshoe pits and Elks Field.

According to the Washington County Historical Society, the Sunbowl was a product of the Lions Club’s desire to create a permanent arena for its annual Dixie Round-up Rodeo. A committee was organized in 1940 to pursue that possibility. World War II put the project on hold until it was picked up again in 1946.

Construction began the following year and was completed in 1949. At the time, the Sunbowl was built for $35,000.

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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27 Comments

  • Kookalaid January 20, 2015 at 11:47 pm

    Oh come on quit wasting money and tear the stupid thing down

  • NO INFO AVAILABLE January 21, 2015 at 1:31 am

    The Sunbowl.? call it what it is trashed out pile of garbage get rid of it

  • NO INFO AVAILABLE January 21, 2015 at 6:21 am

    Oh oh here come all the cry babies now whaaaaaa whaaaaaaaa I want my Sunbowl. LOL.!

  • jimmyJamm January 21, 2015 at 7:10 am

    Are you two from here?

    • NO INFO AVAILABLE January 21, 2015 at 10:33 am

      Whaaaaaa whaaaaaa

  • It isn't theirs to tear down January 21, 2015 at 7:59 am

    City doing dirt politics again. What’s wrong with just tearing down and replacing east Elementary where it is, they did it to Dixie High School? That would be the least inexpensive way to fix problem. But they want to force the Lions to tear down Sun Bowl. It’s BS. Who is that new mayor Rockey Andersen? I Bet Koolaidboy and No InfoAvilable are from Kalifornia.

    KOOLAID BOY IT”S NOT THEIRS TO TEAR DOWN!!!

    • NO INFO AVAILABLE January 21, 2015 at 10:38 am

      Hey STUPID I Was born HERE so shut your pie hole.. TEAR IT DOWN

    • Koolaid January 21, 2015 at 3:23 pm

      I thought Dixie University got the land where East Elementary currently resides and that the plan was to tear down the Sundbowl and build a new elementary school to replace East Elementary. A novel way of tearing down the sunbowl is to sell commemorative pieces of it to those pining for the good old Confederate Dixie days.

  • M and M cookies January 21, 2015 at 8:47 am

    Still think that space could be used for better purposes, seeing th rodeo is the only thing used for it and there isn,t enough parking..why does the council make decisions that are not the opinion of the majority..it’s just like someone should suggest, a 2 or 3 story level garage is needed at DSU. So many cars on the streets, even on red line area, and blocking homeowners because there isn,t enough parking for all the cars seeing that DSU doesn, have and dorms or housing and its growing..

    • NO INFO AVAILABLE January 21, 2015 at 10:35 am

      Your got that right. TEAR IT DOWN.!!!!!!

  • UTCOWBOY January 21, 2015 at 11:13 am

    typical St George. stupidity. its spelled California. geeez. I was born here also.. my opinion is tear it down I’m tired of looking at it. and no I won’t leave. why don’t you move to California. STUPID and learn how to spell it

  • Def Leppard January 21, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    Tear it down !, and in case you ask if I’m from here, no and who cares, there is a nice big arena at the fairground with plenty of parking, TEAR IT DOWN!

  • koolaid January 21, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    People have the weirdest attachment to this aging and deteriorating piece of concrete and metal. The seats are uncomfortable and cramped, parking is inadequate, the arena sits unused for most of the year except for two or three events. It is an accident waiting to happen for which the city had better have plenty of insurance.

  • Linda January 21, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    I think you all might be missing the point here, a multilevel Elementary school. can you imagine the insurance for this building, I can see the broken arms, broken legs and head injuries from kids trying to get to and from recess, I agree with “it isn’t theirs to tear down” Just rebuild the old school bring it up to date, that seams simpler and much less expensive. And as for the Sunbowl, I have seen some great rodeo’s there and some amazing fireworks, it has been there for many years, it’s like a landmark at this time, I say just refurbish it and let go of trying to get rid of it. just my opinion.

    • UTCOWBOY January 21, 2015 at 10:58 pm

      TEAR IT DOWN and that’s just my opinion

      • mo ferguson January 22, 2015 at 9:35 am

        Hey UTCOWBOY…..did you ever do any bronc busting at the rodeo at the Sunbowl? Or bull riding? Or did you just stick to barrel racing?

        • UTCOWBOY January 22, 2015 at 4:14 pm

          LOL.! TEAR IT DOWN what else did you do at the Sunbowl besides stuff your face with hotdogs and hangout with the cattle looking for a date

          • Not Buying it January 23, 2015 at 2:05 am

            LOL that’s funny Cowboy. I would like to add to that. I bet his dates name is Ole Bessy. ha ha ha ha

        • One for the road January 22, 2015 at 9:32 pm

          Hey MO your date called and left a message for you…. Mooooooooooo

          • Harry the cable guy January 22, 2015 at 10:18 pm

            Now that’s funny right there I don’t care who are. hey MO got milk.?

  • Eric January 21, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    I bet tear it down crowd does not watch the fireworks and concerts on the fourth of July.

    • UTCOWBOY January 21, 2015 at 11:03 pm

      I bet the tear it down crowd knows about the fireworks and they also know when the 4th of July is duhhhhhhhh. TEAR IT DOWN.!!!!

  • Def Leppard January 21, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    Linda, Linda listen to me, so this would be the first school ever on a multi level ?(not like Jeremy Johnson) , that sounds ridiculous, more like a lame excuse, unless you were being funny.

  • Def Leppard January 21, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    Eric, what are you saying?

    • UTCOWBOY January 21, 2015 at 11:06 pm

      I wouldn’t even try to ask an intelligent questions with Eric it seems that is just a bit above his ability to answer

  • Stain January 22, 2015 at 10:08 am

    Well if you want to tear it down while your at it take the D off the black hill, get rid of the Dixie on the red hill, tear down the temple. There are certain things in each city around the country that the locals want left alone and this is one of them.

    • UTCOWBOY January 22, 2015 at 4:10 pm

      TEAR IT DOWN.. The sooner the better

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