7350 S. 900 East, Midvale
Groundbreaking: May 31, 2018
Architect Greta Anderson believes successful design is inclusive design.
She and her team at FFKR Architects have involved students, parents, teachers, and the community in every stage of the planning process for the rebuild of Hillcrest High. “If people don’t feel a connection to this place, if they don’t see their input and ideas embodied in the final design, then we’ve failed,” she told a Good4Utah reporter at a recent Open House event to showcase plans for the new campus.
But Anderson’s allegiance to inclusion doesn’t end there. Even the floor-plan for the new school — the addition of a commons area and emphasis on transparent, open spaces illuminated by natural light — was designed with an eye toward making everyone feel welcome and part of the Husky pack. “Right now, there’s nowhere in the school for students to gather before and after the bell, or during lunch,” she explained. “We wanted a commons area and breakout spaces where students can pause to relax and build friendships.”
Anderson comes by the design ethic naturally, having graduated from Hillcrest High before pursuing a career in architecture. “One pack, one goal,” is the Husky motto, and Anderson has fond memories of her alma mater.
But there’s a more serious, pragmatic side to being inclusive. Schools that foster a strong sense of student and community connection tend to be safer schools. An open environment where students and employees can see and be seen can reduce instances of bullying. Learning spaces that visually connect us to the world outside and to one another provide students with a broader sense of place and purpose.
Following are some of the planned features for the new facility to be funded with proceeds from a bond approved by voters in November 2017.
Safety and Security
Among priorities identified by stakeholders for the new school are safety and security. The Main Office will be located on the ground floor and have an unobstructed view of the building entrance, and the footprint will be such that administrators will have a clear line of sight of the full length of the school. Security cameras will be strategically placed and doors in the stairwells leading classroom wings can be automatically locked to stop intruders. 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. The windows are configured in such a way that they will also preserve safety zones in the classrooms.
Hillcrest High has a strong heritage, and special attention has been paid to preserving elements of the existing school that are rooted in tradition. The School Community Council would like to rebuild the senior bench and relocate the terrazzo portrait of a Husky, which are now located in the school’s lobby. There is also talk of raising funds to hire an artist to create a fiercer rendition of the Husky that graces the gymnasium. Schick Stadium will be preserved, but among major improvements are a new field house and performing arts complex to match Hillcrest’s history of excellence in the arts.
The rebuild, to be funded with proceeds from a bond approved by voters in 2017, will be completed in phases over three years to allow students to stay in the building. Crews expect to break ground in May.