Butler Middle School Principal Marsha Morgan learned a new skill to help kick off construction of the new 177,000-square-foot school — how to operate “the claw” used by construction crews to dig the school’s foundation. To cheers from students, faculty and community members who had gathered for a Sept. 8 groundbreaking, Morgan hopped into a cab and pulled a few levers to dig the first dirt.
When done, the new Butler Middle School will be the center of an academic and recreational campus in the heart of Cottonwood Heights. The new school will have state-of-the-art classrooms, a 1,000-seat auditorium theater and a spacious commons area, as well as a gymnasium with two full courts, 12 basketball hoops, two large locker rooms, two fitness rooms dedicated to dance and strength training, and an elevated indoor track with a special surface for running. It also will have a central air conditioning system.
"For many of us, this has been a long time coming — too long, in fact," said Kim Horiuchi, a member of the Canyons Board of Education who spoke at the event. "I have no doubt that many of you wondered if this day would actually ever be realized. But it’s here, and Canyons District is proud to announce that it is holding true to its promise to build a new and improved middle school in Cottonwood Heights — which will be seismically safe and, yes, will have air conditioning."
"I’m so excited for my own daughter to attend this school, and I’m proud to be part of this project on behalf of the community," said Horiuchi, who represents the Cottonwood Heights neighborhoods surrounding Butler Middle.
The school, which will retain its name, is being completed with the help of a $250 million bond approved by Canyons voters. It is one of 13 construction and renovation projects identified as priorities by the Canyons Board of Education.
Butler students remain in the old school while crews work on the new one. This makes it possible for the children to stay in their neighborhood school during the project.
"The construction of this school is testament to the vision of the citizens who bravely expressed their desire for change by voting to create this marvelous new school district. Now their children and grandchildren will reap the benefits of that vision by having an unequalled learning environment in which to master their academic skills," said Cottonwood Heights Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore, who also spoke at the event. "This is a momentous occasion for Cottonwood Heights. While we’re known as the city between the Canyons — today, we’re a city that’s proudly part of Canyons."
The Board of Education chose the firm VCBO Architecture to spearhead the project’s design. Hughes Construction has been contracted to build the new facility, which will continue to be called Butler Middle School after it is completed on its new site.
The new school is being built directly behind the current school at 7530 S. 2700 East. It is expected to be open for the 2013-2014 school year.