City Center (former School Building) – Moab UT

Project type: Education and Health, Schools
Quality of Information:
Site Survival:
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The present Moab City Center, effectively the City Hall, was originally built to house the Moab elementary school and the Grand County high school.  It was built with a federal grant and cost $135,000.  It was first proposed in May 1933, according to local newspaper reports, and dedicated in December 1934.

Firmage (1996, p. 275) claims that it was built with Works Progress Administration (WPA) funds, but this appears to be a classic confusion between the Public Works Administration (PWA) and the WPA – which did not yet exist in 1933-34. PWA funded the neighboring Carbon County Courthouse, so it is likely that it funded the school building, too.

The two schools moved to new sites up the street c. 1997, and the building underwent a major renovation completed in 2005.  It is still in use as a combination City Hall and auxiliary offices, including the Chamber of Commerce.    The Moab City website says:

“The Grand County School District shut down the building in 1997 following the construction of another high school and the conversion of the existing high school into a middle school. The City of Moab renovated the building into the new City Center in 2005. Over 95 percent of the original historical structural and shell elements were retained in the renovation of the building. Use of recycled material was integrated into the construction plan. An innovative geothermal heating and cooling system, shared with the adjacent Grand County Library and the City Recreation and Teen Center, utilizes the earths natural stored energy to provide heating and cooling. The site was designed to contain all storm water runoff on site, contributing to recharging the aquifer. Native plants intermix with shade trees and outdoor art to create park-like grounds and public space. Energy efficient electrical equipment, combined with low flow plumbing fixtures, provide a model of sustainable design for the community.

The Moab City Center houses city offices including:

  • Police Department;
  • Administration and Elected Officials offices, including the Mayor’s office and Council Chambers;
  • Planning and Zoning, where building permits are issued and land use are decided;
  • Treasurer, where city utility bills are paid and business licenses are issued;
  • City Recorder, where official records are kept;
  • City Engineering;
  • City Recreation; and
  • Economic Development.

The Moab City Center also houses offices of the Moab Chamber of Commerce, The Utah Attorney General’s Office, the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration Office, the State Office of Adult Probation and Parole, and private law offices. ”

Across the street from the school is a square block of athletic fields, probably first laid out with ball fields by the WPA.  The fields have been completely overhauled in recent years, leaving no trace of the earlier improvements.




Project Details

Federal Cost Local Cost Total Cost Project #'s

Source notes

Richard Firmage, History of Grand County, Grand County, UT: Utah State Historical Society, 1996.
Moab City website:

Project originally submitted by Richard Walker on September 20, 2016.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

217 East Center Street
Moab, UT 84532

Coordinates: 38.573692, -109.546912

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