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.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to you envision teachers using the collaboration spaces?
The classrooms will be connected by corridors that have been expanded to make room for different types of group activities. Architects have had preliminary conversations with teachers who envision this being an area where group learning can occur. It could be a space where teachers gather to brainstorm and plan. Or it could serve as a pullout space where students receive tutoring, collaborate on projects, or complete online coursework. Its open design is meant to be inviting and inclusive while making it possible for teachers to monitor the area from inside their classrooms.
What opportunities will there be for community input?
With all of our schools, special care is taken to involve students, parents, teachers and the broader community in the planning process. We take pride in building schools that reflect the communities they serve and that serve those communities well — safe, high-quality learning environments that inspire students to set and achieve challenging goals. Throughout the design process, input was received from teachers, students, parents and elected officials, including the School Community Council. Safety issues were discussed at length with the Cottonwood Heights Police Department. Architectural plans were described in open Board of Education meetings and during a community Open House. Updates on the project continue to be published on Canyons District’s website.
What’s being done to preserve elements of the school that are rooted in history?
We’ve looked at ways that we can preserve the heritage, such as pulling references of the circular nature of the existing building into the design. You may see it in circular floor patterns and a circular stair that architects are exploring. There are ongoing discussions about preserving the Bengal tilework in the front lobby and replicating other iconic pieces of art.
What are plans for keeping trash and debris from traveling to the neighboring properties?
Construction zones can be messy, but every effort will be made to keep disruptions to a minimum, maintain safe access, and keep the work zone tidy and free of trash and debris.
Describe the wrestling facilities.
The wrestling room will be comparable to what’s available at Corner Canyon High. It will be big enough to fit full size competitive mats and a seating area for parents. The only difference is there won’t be an attached locker room, because the new campus will have plenty of locker room space in very close proximity. As an added convenience, there will be a pathway to take wrestling mats straight to the gym for competitions from the wrestling room.