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Midvale Journal

Midvalley Elementary nears completion, Hillcrest High to be finished in 2021

Jan 27, 2020 11:02AM ● By Julie Slama

Almost weekly, custodian Jim Sheeley has photographed the new Midvalley Elementary being built from the roof of the existing school building. (Jim Sheeley/Midvalley Elementary)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

In custodian Jim Sheeley’s office is a framed magazine cover of Midvalley Elementary.

It isn’t the architectural concept of what the new school will look like, but instead a photograph of the exterior of the current, 60-plus-year-old school that was considered to be groundbreaking at the time.

Next to the framed magazine cover is an aerial view photograph and the May 5, 1958 dedication program and photos of the school he has kept in check for the past 36 years. 

On the table, Sheeley has a hard hat and architectural plans of the new Midvalley — one that he has watched and photographed the progress weekly from the roof of the existing school.

“It’s kind of neat to see the changes in the building every week,” Sheeley said.

His photography project may come to an end in a few months as the new Midvalley Elementary is expected to be completed this summer, with a projected July move-in date, according to Canyons School District Business Manager and Chief Financial Officer Leon Wilcox.

The new Midvalley Elementary and new nearby Hillcrest High are being constructed as part of the $283-million bond voters approved in November 2017. 

Midvalley’s new school will cost $22.5 million, Wilcox said.

“It’s going to be a big improvement over what our current students have,” he said. “We may be using the same plan for future school buildings.”

The new elementary school is being constructed on the former grassy field as 435 current students will continue to study in the school that is west of the construction site. The new school will be the largest elementary in Canyons School District at 85,000 square feet to house 800 students.

NJRA Architects designed the building with input from teachers, students and the community. Crews with Bud Mahas Construction are continuing work on the two-story school that will include a safety vestibule entrance in addition to clear view of entrances and exits and a perimeter road to allow emergency responders access to the building. 

Classrooms will have natural light, updated technology, storage, and space for learning. Nearby will be restrooms and drinking fountains with water bottle filling stations as well as collaborative spaces as well as a small kiva for teaching.

Throughout the building, which will use school colors of red, white and blue, in addition to shades of teal, green and gray, there will be large skylights, a multi-purpose room for lunch and inside gym and power towers for electronic devices.

Progress continues at Hillcrest High, with the fieldhouse and gymnasium complex expected to be done by March. A wet spring last year pushed back progress, which makes playing any state basketball playoff games in the new facility “unlikely,” Wilcox said.

There also are delays with working crews as there are more projects, including the new Salt Lake International Airport, than laborers, he said.

However, projections still remain that the new Hillcrest will open in fall 2021 at a cost of $119.4 million.

“We just can’t start the next phase until we knock down the old gym to make space for a classroom wing,” Wilcox said.

The new athletic center will include a new indoor 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.” 

In what was the main or south parking lot, crews already are constructing the auditorium and black box theatre, commons and the technical education wing that will house wood, automotive, jewelry, robotics, engineering and other shops. 

“In a year there may be possibly looking at holding classes there, but right now, we’re not looking at it for next school year,” Wilcox said. “Next year, we are planning to hold all programs in the old building.”

Much of the building will feature “daylighting” design in the form of large windows. 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.

The final two phases, consisting of mostly sports fields on the west side of Hillcrest’s 38-acre campus, will be completed by late 2021.