2220 Bengal Blvd., Cottonwood Heights
The Brighton High rebuild may be the most surgical of three high school improvement projects to begin this summer. MHTN Architects are challenged with building a new school on almost the same footprint as the existing building without disrupting school activities. They have about 35 acres with which to work, about half the size of most high school campuses, and they’ve been told to keep the football stadium as is. If that’s not enough, a 35-foot drop in the grade of the property adds another degree of difficulty.
“Right off the get-go we realized that building anywhere on the Brighton campus is going to be a challenge,” said MHTN’s Associate Principal Scott Later at a recent community preview of the still-developing plans.
But with creativity, and the help of computer modeling software, the architects have devised a plan to build the new school in phases over three years, starting this summer with the performing arts and athletics facilities, which will bookend the current building to the west and east. Also at this time, the baseball and softball fields will be reworked to provide a new point of entry at the south end of the property. “For the first 16 months of construction no classrooms are impacted. We keep all our gymnasiums for activities and every single classroom untouched while we build these two structures,” says Brighton Principal Tom Sherwood.
Phase two will entail relocating some classrooms into the new performing arts and athletics facilities so that crews can tear down a portion of the existing building and replace it with a three-story wing of classrooms. Once they’re completed, the classrooms will connect to the two bookends. Work will then begin on the school grounds and parking lots.
Following are some of the planned features for the 400,000-square-foot facility to be funded with proceeds from a bond approved by voters in November 2017.
Safety and Security
The upgrades are being undertaken with safety and security foremost in mind. A priority of the new plan is to improve traffic flow, making it easier for students, employees, and visitors to safely enter and exit the campus. The Main Office will be located on the ground floor and have an unobstructed view of the building entrance. The footprint of the new building, which is located across the street from the Cottonwood Heights Police Department, will be such that administrators have a clear line of sight down hallways. Visitors are routed into the administration area to check in prior to entering the building. In the event of an emergency a panic button can be activated that will lock down classroom wings.
The building will be a modern interpretation on academic architecture. References to the existing circular school will be found in the flooring, circulation and site concrete patterns
Large windows and skylights will be added to bring natural light into the commons area and the classroom wings. Classroom windows that open onto commons areas for group study and teacher-collaboration are designed to contribute to a culture of transparency at the school.