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Midvale Journal

First phase of new Hillcrest High underway, to be completed this summer

Jan 21, 2019 01:16PM ● By Julie Slama

In mid-November, crews prepared Hillcrest High’s former soccer field which was paved over as part of the first phase of a three-year rebuild of the 57-year-old school. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Hillcrest High students are making some sacrifices for the future of the school and incoming students.

Several sports teams have “home” fields away from the school campus as construction crews tear up their fields and courts. Students and faculty, alike, are now parking on what was the baseball and softball diamonds.

This started last spring when shovels turned dirt on the Husky soccer field for the groundbreaking ceremony of the rebuilding of the 57-year-old school. The new school, with a price tag of $113.8 million, will be built in phases during a four-year period.

The new school was made possible with 58 percent approval of voters on the 2017 $283-million bond, which also will include new school buildings at Brighton High, Union Middle, Midvalley and Peruvian Park elementaries, a new West Draper Elementary, a new White City elementary as well as extensive remodeling at Alta High and expansion of classrooms and lunchroom at Corner Canyon High.

Canyons School District Business Manager and Chief Financial Officer Leon Wilcox said the athletic complex will cost $31.1 million, with the remaining building, including the performing arts 1,500-seat auditorium, at $82.7 million. An estimated $4.6 million will be earmarked for the architects’ and engineers’ cost and another $1 million for equipment and furniture, he said.

The first phase, which consists of the athletic facilities, will be completed by early 2020. The athletic center of the school includes a new covered turf facility (or field house) located north of the football field, a main gymnasium, an auxiliary gym, training room, dance room, weight room, wrestling room, multi-purpose athletic room and locker rooms.

“It’s designed so we can put in soccer, baseball, softball and lacrosse coming up in the field house, but also use it for drill, cheer and dance and even yoga,” Wilcox said. “With PE students able to use the facility, it will ease up the demand for the gymnasium space for volleyball and basketball.”

The new gyms will be built on the site of the former tennis courts, with Wilcox hopeful student-athletes next year may be able to play their final basketball season games in the new facility.

Principal Greg Leavitt said students will be able to see the gym walls go up this spring so during the summer break, they will be able to work on the interior. The design, he said, is a sunken gym with an interior track around the top.

“It will allow our students to use it for training and for indoor track and at the same time, teams can practice on the floor,” he said. “We took responses from parents and students as well as our teachers and coaches to recognize what is needed.”

The second phase will move the auditorium, shops administration and some classrooms to the eastern wing of the school as well as introduce a student commons.

Canyons officials said that the new school will emphasize open spaces illuminated by natural light and collaborative spaces for students to gather. The floor plan allows an open environment where students and employees can see and be seen which can reduce instances of bullying and provide students with a broader sense of place and purpose, Canyons School District spokesperson Jeff Haney said.

The proposed “daylighting” design is in the form of large windows, which Canyons School District has used with the recent rebuilding of Mt. Jordan Middle School. The premise holds that natural light is not only good for defraying electricity and infrastructure costs, but it also boosts learning for the 2,250 students.

Wilcox said this portion of the new building should be open to students in fall 2020.

The final two phases, consisting of mostly sports fields on the west side of the 38-acre campus, are to be completed by fall 2021.

Wilcox said the decision to build high schools first from the bond money was to save on expected costs. Hillcrest was thought to have a price tag of $98 million last spring. Now with tariffs on steel, Wilcox said, “it cost a lot more than we expected.”