New athletic complex awaits students return to campus
Jun 15, 2020 11:38AM
By Julie Slama
By Julie Slama | [email protected]
When Hillcrest High students return to campus for classes, a new $30 million athletic complex awaits them.
Originally planned to be used in April 2020 after spring break, the Huskies have yet to see the new complex because of the soft closure through the end of the 2019-20 school year.
As of April 13, the final touches were being finished and Hillcrest was expected to take ownership of the two buildings—a fieldhouse with a conference room overlooking the north end of the football field and a sports complex that includes a wrestling room, two basketball courts and locker rooms.
“It’s really cool that the athletic part of the building is separate from the PE portion, with PE rooms upstairs and athletics, downstairs,” Principal Greg Leavitt said. “It will be nice not to use rooms double all day long and to have separate locker rooms.”
The school’s gymnasium that served students for 58 years was torn down from April 3 to April 17, with debris being cleared through mid-May. That space will be used to construct a classroom wing as part of the new school’s construction, made possible with 58% approval of voters on the 2017 $283-million bond.
“We cleaned house, so we will be bringing in memorabilia and class gifts, but not any junk,” Leavitt said. “This is a modern, much nicer complex for our teams to use. There’s a large gym and a smaller gym so we can have both girls’ and boys’ basketball on the same site, the same night, sharing both gyms. We couldn’t do that before because the previous gyms were too small.”
The smaller gym has bleachers on one side of the court while the main gym has seating on all four sides of the court.
New girls’ head basketball coach Matteo Dal Monte said he was “blown away” at the new facility.
“It’s beautiful; the kids are excited and should be proud to play in their new gym,” he said.
The new boys’ head coach Brandon Sluga agrees.
“The gym is top notch,” he said. “The facility has a weight room, specific dedicated sports rooms, more collegiate-feel team lockers, a training room with a whirlpool, and an indoor track.”
The four-lane indoor track circles the top of the sunken main gym.
Track and cross country coach Scott Stucki is appreciative of the new facility that includes the school’s first indoor track.
“We can use the indoor track during the indoor (track) season and during awful weather workouts,” he said. “It’s 7,000% better than what we’ve had, so I’m grateful.”
Down the hall from the main gym is the weight room that overlooks the football field and has a commanding view of the Wasatch mountain range.
“It’s all glass windows with a magnificent view, just a beautiful place to weight lift,” Dal Monte said.
Near both the gym and football field is a “first-class concession stand,” Leavitt said, that has a large kitchen facility and windows that will allow access to sell to athletic fans both from the inside and outside of the building, depending upon the sport.
The locker rooms have individual showers, with football lockers being large enough to stow all the gear. Next to the locker rooms are individual gender neutral restrooms, which can accommodate all students.
Teachers’ and coaches’ offices and locker rooms, referees’ locker rooms, and sports equipment storage rooms are located in the facility as well.
In the field house, there is a turf field, restrooms, officials’ room and an upstairs conference room, where many teams plan to hold their team dinners and year-end banquets.
“It’s an amazing field house where teams can practice away from the cold or rain, and anyone can use it for conditioning specific to their sport,” Sluga said.
The field house was designed to not only be available to soccer, baseball, softball, football and lacrosse, but also for drill, cheer, yoga, and PE classes, easing up the demand for gym space to volleyball and basketball teams.
Initially, the dance team will use the facility until the dance studio, which will be in the performing arts area, is completed, Leavitt said.
Dal Monte was impressed with the facilities: “It’s a good start to building successful sports programs.”