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Midvale Journal

New Hillcrest High building on schedule to open fall 2021

May 12, 2021 11:41AM ● By Julie Slama

The library in the new Hillcrest High will have views of the Wasatch Mountains. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

A food pantry, showers, washers and dryers.

These are some of the facilities Hillcrest High Principal Greg Leavitt said he’s proud of being incorporated in the new Hillcrest High School. The building is expected to be open for fall term.

“We serve about 100 students, many of them refugees coming from about 25 countries and some of our other students are without homes or are living in shelters,” he said. “They need laundry facilities, showers, food. These human service rooms are here to help them take care of their hygiene, their clothes, provide them food during hard times. In today’s world, more and more students are needing help whether it’s socio-economically, educationally, mentally. If we want our student to learn, we need to start with shelter, food and stability.”

The rooms will serve to “support students, not judge them,” he said. “We won’t deny anyone.”

The human service rooms are part of what Leavitt has discussed weekly the past 2.5 years with architect and Hillcrest 1989 alumna Greta Anderson and other construction team members. He anticipates he’s midway in his weekly construction meetings, based on his experience from being a part of Draper Park Middle School’s build team.

“We started after the bond passed and will continue until the last plug-in is put in and the last construction trailer leaves,” Leavitt said. “It’s been great working with someone who knows the school. She knows the importance of our performing arts program and our traditions like the senior bench.”

In fact, during a March 10 tour for the School Community Council, Leavitt pointed out where the senior bench would be placed, near the student body officer and international baccalaureate rooms. 

“Students now know it as a place to sit on by all the posters in the main foyer, but back in the day, only seniors could sit on it,” he said.

The bench will be placed not far from the performing arts area, where the 1,400-seat auditorium will have a hidden orchestra pit, and a proscenium that is larger than other area schools, Leavitt said.

There also will be a stage tech area with 10-foot doors to move in larger set pieces. A little theatre is being built adjacent to the auditorium.

“This is how Broadway feels, folks,” Leavitt said to the council of about 25 members. “They typically don’t build them like this.”

Leavitt showed the council the school’s first alumni room that will double its use for the PTA and SCC, and rooms for the sewing, woods, ceramics and robotics programs. There is a professional kitchen with an adjacent dining room designed to allow students to gain culinary experience. More than 500 students have enrolled for foods courses this next term, he said.

Another highlight of the new Hillcrest is a college-style lecture room that seats about 150 people, Leavitt said.

“We can use it for an IB test, a community presentation, a faculty meeting, professional development” he said.

Canyons Board of Education member Mont Millerberg told the group: “This is my favorite addition. It has a collegiate feel that a department could bring several classes together to have the same instruction or presentation. It will help students understand what we mean by being college-ready.”

The lecture room sits near the west-facing front doors, where once students walk in, they will enter a commons area and can have quick access to the main office, administration, counseling and support staff. Above the commons is the library, with a view of the Wasatch Mountains, as well as the SBO and IB rooms.

Near the auditorium are the choir and instrumental music rooms, complete with practice rooms, a music library and instrument storage.

While not all rooms were completed, Leavitt showed classrooms, science labs and collaboration rooms. 

“It’s great to have this space to collaborate and the windows into the classrooms allows us to see what is going on,” he said, adding that security measures have been put in place throughout the building in case of emergencies. “The new building is full of light, openness and it’s very manageable. There are no dead corners. It has a welcoming feel.”

While students watch the brickwork finished on the exterior walls this spring, Millerberg, who graduated from the current school in 1968, said he will be sad to see his building go. He quickly added, this one is “absolutely awesome. I’ve walked through it about 10 times and each time it gets better.”

The new Hillcrest High School building, which will have gray and green interior, is being erected by the school’s stadium on the east side on the former soccer field and part of the main parking lot. It is expected to open to 2,160 students.

The sports complex and fieldhouse already have been completed and students have been using them for athletics and physical education.

The existing school that was built for about $5 million in 1962 will be demolished with the area used for parking and playing fields. The STEM building that was constructed from the 2010 bond will remain in place.

The $120-million school, designed by the architectural firm of FFKR and built by the construction crew of Westland, is being funded from the $283-million bond that voters approved in 2017 to modernize and upgrade Canyons School District schools.