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Construction crews are busy working on projects throughout the District, and one more elementary school will soon be joining the list. The Canyons Board of Education voted unanimously on July 17 to begin rebuilding Midvalley Elementary as the first of three elementary schools in the District to be rebuilt.

NJRA Architects will be designing the new building, and construction is anticipated to begin in April, 2019. The new school is expected to open for the 2020-2021 school year. As part of a $283 million bond approved by voters in 2017, three elementary schools in Canyons district will be rebuilt and a new elementary school in west Draper will be built. Peruvian Park and a White City school will also be rebuilt.

Canyons’ administration proposed choosing Midvalley as the first project because it is the oldest of the three buildings, has ADA issues, needs roof repairs, and will be the easiest to build onsite while students are in school during the 2019-2020 school year. Also, it can help absorb growth in west Midvale.

Midvalley originally opened in 1957. According to industry standards, an assessment of the school shows that the cost to repair the building exceeds 68 percent of the cost to replace the building. The new school will be built onsite while students continue to attend the old school.

For Principal Brian McGill, the long-awaited renovation of Alta High is personal.

2d9861f7dfa371a841ce6730b641ed6c_XL.jpgTwenty-seven years ago, he walked the same halls that his students walk today — and he’s thrilled to see how the new additions will add to the culture and climate of the school. "Even as a student, one of the things I loved the most about this school is the sense of tradition and a drive for excellence,” McGill said at a June 7 groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of construction. “It’s a place that doesn’t settle for second best, whether it’s in the arts, academics or on the athletic field. This is A-Town! It’s how it’s always been — and how it will always be."

To officially kick off construction, McGill, in front of a cheering crowd gathered for the groundbreaking celebration, hopped in a massive earth-mover and pulled some levers to make a giant steel claw scoop up and dump a bucket of sand.  

Joining McGill in celebrating the improvement project were members of the Hawks’ student council, drum line, color guard, and cheerleading squad. Also in attendance were parents, alumni, teachers, members of the Canyons Board of Education, Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe, other District administrators, Sandy Mayor Kurt Bradburn, Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper, Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, Rep. Robert Spendlove, R-Sandy, and Canyons Education Foundation Board Members Suzanne Harrison and Greg Summerhays.

Alta is among the first of several improvement projects to be completed with funds from a 2017 voter-approved bond. Work also starts this summer on rebuilds of Hillcrest and Brighton high schools. A groundbreaking for the Hillcrest project was held on May 31, and a celebration for the beginning of the Brighton project will take place at the school on Thursday, Aug. 9 at 5:30 p.m.

“With all of our schools, special care is taken to involve students, parents, teachers and the broader community in the planning process,” remarked Board President Sherril H. Taylor. “We take pride in building schools that reflect the communities they serve and that serve those communities well.”

The Alta High remodel will be completed in phases over two years so as to allow students to stay inside the building. “This is going to be a complex project to do,” said Canyons District’s Business Administrator Leon Wilcox, expressing appreciation for careful attention that VCBO Architects and Hughes Construction have given the project. “We’re basically building a school on top of a school, while holding school. That’s quite a challenge and these guys are going to do it while making sure everything is safe for all involved.”

Among major additions to take shape during the first phase of construction are a new field house and 1,400-seat Performing Arts Center, which will be configured to capitalize on mountain views. A new commons area will be a space where students can gather to make new traditions. The ceiling of the commons area will be lifted to 35 feet, and the new open space will be illuminated by natural light. Traffic flow will be improved, making it easier for students, employees, and visitors to safely enter and exit the campus. 

“From day one, the focus of the design has been about creating the best learning environment for our students and a great work environment for teachers,” McGill said. “I hope you’re as thrilled as I am with the plans for the school, which will stand as a testament to our community’s investment in education for at least the next 40 years.”

See more on Facebook or the Alta High groundbreaking photo album. 
A new era of great heights is on the horizon for the Alta High Hawks. 

A groundbreaking celebration to cheer the start of work on a major two-year renovation at Alta High will be Thursday, June 7. All Alta students, teachers, parents, volunteers, alumni, and boosters are invited to the 5:30 p.m. reception and 6 p.m. ceremony at the school, 11055 S. 1000 East. 

No time has been wasted starting on the major renovation project, which is funded by the $283 million bond voters approved in November. Construction crews have already started site work on the northwest corner of campus where a 1,400-seat performing arts center will be built. By January 2020, the state-of-the-art center is scheduled to be complete and ready for productions.

Crews also will soon begin work on the Hawk Fieldhouse immediately north of the football stadium. By next summer, Alta students in activities ranging from football to marching band will be able to practice on an turf-covered indoor field. The second-level gallery of the fieldhouse, which will have a 30-foot ceiling, also will feature windows facing the football field so guests can watch Friday Night Lights action out of the chilly fall air.

In addition to the new performing arts center, the remodel also calls for the construction of a black box theater where the current auditorium is located. Among other upgrades, several offices will be relocated, the ceiling in the commons area will be raised to about 35 feet, and windows will be added on the front of the building and throughout the entrance to bring in an abundance of natural light. A security vestibule will guide visitors to the Main Office before they can gain access to the hallways. 

A new red, grey and glass façade on the front of the performing arts center will be replicated along the front of the current building, adding to the school’s curb appeal. In addition, a new marquee and electronic sign will be placed at the corner of 11000 South and 100 East to inform the community about Alta High events and student accomplishments. 

The renovation project is being designed by VCBO Architecture. The general contractor is Hughes Construction.

If rebuilding a high school is a major undertaking, try tackling three at once. This summer, construction crews will begin work on rebuilds of Brighton and Hillcrest high schools along with a major renovation of Alta High.

Screen Shot 2018-04-18 at 2.19.08 PM.pngArchitectural firms, with input from students, parents, employees and community leaders, have been hard at work shaping plans for the improvement projects — the largest and most complicated of many more to be financed by the $283 million bond approved by voters in 2017. School communities were given a sneak preview of the plans at Open House events in April, and the Board of Education has been receiving regular progress reports in open meetings.  


“This is such an exciting time for the District,” says Canyons District Board of Education President Sherril H. Taylor. “We’re not just building schools, we’re building communities. With the completion of these projects, all of our high schools will be brought up to a high-quality facilities standard. The safety and technological upgrades will improve the learning environments for generations of students, including the children of those now enrolled. It’s a momentous undertaking, and one that wouldn’t be possible without our patrons.”

The high schools will be built in phases over 2-3 years so as to allow them to remain in operation during the construction. Tackling all three at once is ambitious, but in order to keep costs contained, it was imperative to get to work as quickly as possible, says CSD’s Business Administrator Leon Wilcox.

Construction costs have soared, and are expected to continue to rise in the near future, Wilcox says. “We want to lock-in costs now on the largest and most complicated bond projects.”

Each project varies according to the priorities established by the school communities. But among common focuses are school safety, sustainability, and futuristic thinking. Wilcox says, “We’re building these schools to last and to accommodate the rapidly changing technological demands and instructional practices of modern classrooms.”

Careful attention is also being paid to preserve recent investments, such as the schools’ new football stadiums. Taking cues from research on the health and learning benefits of natural light, large windows and skylights are planned for commons areas and classrooms.

Since Canyons’ inception, the District has worked to address the safety and technological deficiencies of the aging buildings it received from a previous school district while also planning for growth. The 13th and final project financed with proceeds from a bond approved by voters in 2010 — the renovation of Indian Hills Middle — will be completed in time for start of the 2018-2019 school year.

Hundreds braved the early evening heat Thursday to celebrate the beginning of construction on a complete rebuild of Brighton High School. collagebhsgroundbreakingParents, alumni, members of the Cottonwood Heights City Council, Canyons District administrators, Brighton’s High’s principal, teachers and members of Canyons’ Board of Education came to celebrate this milestone for the Bengal community with a ceremonial turning of dirt. collagebhsgroundbreaking.jpg

But most of all, there were students. From the band and cheer squad who performed the school’s Fight Song to the football players who put away the chairs, Brighton’s students filled the air with cheers in eager anticipation for the remake of their campus. “Any decisions we have made about the design of this new school has been with the students in mind,” Brighton Principal Tom Sherwood said. “The physical, emotional and educational welfare of students will always be at the forefront of our decision making.”

Brighton High is among three CSD high schools to be rebuilt or remodeled starting this summer with funds from a $283 million bond approved by voters in 2017. The bond will also be used to rebuild three other schools and build one new elementary school in west Draper, as well as school improvement projects.

After opening its doors in 1969, Brighton is fast approaching its 50th birthday — but a lot has changed in 50 years. “When this school was built, the state-of-the-art technology was black and white TVs,” Sherwood said. MHTN Architects and builders from Hogan and Associates Construction will use modern techniques to build a new school that is equipped to educate students in a modern age.

The new home of the Bengals will be built in phases over three years, starting with construction of a new auditorium, arts and CTE program spaces, where the existing school sits. Throughout the project, workers will be “building a new school on top of the old school, while still having school,” said Canyons Business Administrator Leon Wilcox.

Space is a premium on the campus, and there will be challenges during the build, most notably limited parking. But Wilcox said when the new school is completed, students and employees will have more parking space than they do now.

Other design features include a line of sight down the hallways for administrators and capabilities to lock down classrooms with the push of a button, in case of emergency. The school will have large windows and skylights to bring natural light into the commons area and classrooms, with an emphasis on small-group collaboration. Efforts to preserve elements of Brighton’s history are under way, including circular design elements that harken back to the school’s beloved circular halls.

Individuals with ideas on the pieces of Brighton’s heritage they would like to save are invited to email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with their thoughts and contributions. So many people have fond memories of the school, said Canyons Board of Education 2nd Vice President Amber Shill. “My own family is very attached to this place. As the mother of four children who have graduated from here, or who will soon attend here, I feel privileged to take part in its future.”

Over the past half-century, alumni of Brighton have gone on to be accomplished scholars, athletes, government and industry leaders, artists and contributors to their communities. Canyons School District Vice President Nancy Tingey told the crowd she’s confident many more will join them over the coming years. “With the rebuild of the school, future generations of students will build memories here, too. … Whether your children are involved in sports, whether they have an affinity or math or passion for science, they will find in this school a welcoming place to thrive.”

Members of the community came to show support to the new school. Canyons Superintendent Dr. James Briscoe, Canyons Board of Education President Sherril Taylor, as well as members Steve Wrigley, Clareen Arnold, Mont Millerberg, and Shill and Tingey, who represent the Brighton area and feeder schools, were there, as well as Rep. Marie Poulson, D-Cottonwood Heights, Utah School Board member Katherine Riebe and members of the Canyons Education Foundation.

“None of this would be possible without your support,” Shill told the audience gathered at the school. “This is possible because of those who had the vision to create this school district and the voters who showed confidence and trust in the Board of Education. This trust is not taken lightly.”

 

Sept. 12, 2018

Construction Update: Crews on Schedule with the new Brighton High

Rebuilding Brighton High poses the unique challenge of constructing a new school on top of the old school while school is in session. But there are upsides to tackling the project in phases—most notably, it makes it easier for BHS aerialsmallarchitects to create a building that is truly responsive to the people for whom it’s being designed. Responsive design involves testing out ideas live in the early phases so as to allow students, employees, and patrons to provide meaningful feedback. During the first few days of school, for example, special attention was paid to how students and employees were navigating the campus. Adjustments were made to remove parking bottlenecks, impromptu pedestrian paths were lined with gravel, and signage was hung to more clearly demark emergency exits. “It took a few weeks for everyone to settle into new routines, and we had to make some adjustments. But it’s been a valuable process. Some of the changes we made will inform the design of the school going forward,” says the school’s Principal Tom Sherwood. Crews are on schedule and nearing completion of the first major project: Construction of new baseball and softball fields. As soon as the turf is installed, sometime in October, Hogan & Associates Construction will turn its attention to excavating and shoring up land to the west of the school in preparation for laying the foundation for a new auditorium. The auditorium and new athletics building on the east of campus are expected to be finished in 2020. For more information about the project, visit www.bond.canyonsdistrict.org.

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Aug. 3, 2018

Construction Update: What’s Next for Brighton High?

Work has begun in earnest on the three-year rebuild of Brighton High. It’s not easy to live near a construction site, but we want the Bengal community to know that the phased construction and demolition have been planned toIMG 7313 minimize disruptions and provide the utmost safety for those who live and work near the campus. During the first phase of construction this year, there will be no demolition. The existing building will remain intact. There will, however, be changes to the routes students use to navigate campus, and on-campus parking will be limited. Through negotiations with the City of Cottonwood Heights and other neighboring facilities, we have acquired extra parking in close proximity to Brighton High. All on-campus and overflow parking will require a school-issued permit. City street parking ordinances remain in effect, and will be enforced. We thank you for your patience, and invite you to share any questions or concerns you have. Questions? Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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2220 Bengal Blvd., Cottonwood Heights
Groundbreaking: TBD

 

TBHS.pnghe 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.

Design Aesthetic

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

Classroom Upgrades

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.

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  • For Hillcrest Principal Greg Leavitt, the sight of a row of golden-tipped shovels on the school’s soccer field on Thursday was monumental.

    The shovels marked the beginning of a three-year project, made possible by a $283 million bond approved by voters in November that will result in a new building to replace the current, 55-year-old structure. But the implements also reminded Leavitt of the importance of the hard work that goes into gaining an education.

    “These shovels are signs of cultivation,” Leavitt said, "not of money, but of hearts and minds, of generations to come. The culture you’ve built here isn’t in the bricks and the desks, it’s in the community.”

    A crowd of Hillcrest students, parents, and educators gathered at the school to celebrate the old building and mark the beginning of the new project. Also in attendance were members of the Canyons Board of Education, Superintendent Dr. Jim Briscoe, other District administrators, Midvale Mayor Robert Hale, members of the Midvale city council, Utah State Board of Education member Kathleen Riebe, Sen. Brian Zehnder, R-Cottonwood Heights, and Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy. A group of alumni from the class of 1968, honored guests, including Board member and Husky alumni Mont Millerberg, in lifting the symbolic shovels to mark the beginning of the project.

    “So many people have such great memories of going to school here, myself included,” Millerberg said. “We’re thrilled to be able to build a new school so the next generation of students can build memories here, too.”

    A committee of Hillcrest administrators and District administrators is working with FFKR Architects and Westland Construction to create a new Hillcrest that will meet the demands of a 21st century education without sacrificing elements of the old building that are rooted in tradition, such as the inlaid “H” in the school’s atrium, and the DelMar Schick Stadium. The new school will have a new field house and performing arts complex, a commons area, emphasis on open spaces illuminated by natural light and collaborative spaces for students to gather and create new traditions.

    Hillcrest is the first of several improvement projects to be completed in with funds from the 2017 bond, including new campuses at Union Middle, Midvalley and Peruvian Park elementary school and Brighton High and other locations. Alta will be remodeled extensively. Celebrations for the beginning of that project will take place at the school on June 7 at 5:30 p.m.

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    The Huskies are getting a new home, and we’re celebrating with a ceremonial turning of dirt.

    Students, teachers, parents and members of the community are invited to a groundbreaking ceremony at Hillcrest High on Thursday, May 31 to herald the start of a rebuild of the campus. The event will start at 5:30 p.m. with a reception followed by a ceremony at 6 p.m. 

    The new Hillcrest High is being made possible by a $283 million, tax-rate-neutral bond approved by Canyons voters in 2017. Construction will start this summer and be undertaken in phases over three years to allow the school to remain in operation.

    The 56-year-old school has a strong heritage, and special attention is being paid to building a modern environment wired for emerging technologies without sacrificing elements of the existing building that are rooted in tradition. DelMar Schick Stadium will remain untouched, but among major improvements are a new field house and performing arts complex to match Hillcrest’s history of excellence in the arts.

    The floor-plan for the new school — the addition of a commons area and emphasis on open spaces illuminated by natural light — is being designed with school safety and security in mind. Classroom windows that open onto commons areas for group study and teacher-collaboration will contribute to a culture of transparency and inclusiveness. Hallways will be configured to provide administrators an unobstructed view of the campus, and classroom windows configured to preserve safety zones in the classrooms.

    Since Canyons’ inception, the District has worked to plan for growth while also addressing the safety and technological deficiencies of the aging buildings it received from a previous school district. Thirteen improvement projects were financed with proceeds from a bond approved by voters in 2010.  The last project, a renovation of Indian Hills Middle, will be finished in time for the start of school this fall. 

    The 2017 bond will make it possible for CSD to rebuild six schools, including Hillcrest, remodel Alta High, build a new elementary school in west Draper to accommodate growth, remodel offices at six elementary schools, and add skylights for more natural light at 18 elementary schools.
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