With reconstruction of Butler Elementary at the halfway mark, teachers were recently given a sneak preview of the building and their enthusiasm was palpable. “Look at that view!” exclaimed 5th grade dual immersion teacher Kim Cope, catching a first glimpse out the window of her spacious new classroom.Â
Of the building’s remarkable features, most remarkable of all are its uninterrupted, 360-degree views of the mountain-rimmed Salt Lake valley. West-facing classrooms look out upon the Oquirrh range, and east-facing rooms offer a close-up of the Wasatch. Look north and it’s possible to spot Mt. Olympus. Gaze south and see just past the Point of the Mountain.
So it’s fitting that this latest addition to the Canyons District be themed around world famous canyons. Each learning suite is designated by a color to correspond with renowned hikes in Utah (Buckskin Gulch), California (Kings Canyon), Hawaii (Waimea Canyon), Alaska (Keystone Canyon), Arizona (Antelope Canyon) and Texas (Palo Duro). “It helps with wayfinding. This way any child, no matter what age, can identify with the different areas of the building,” explains Alex Booth, one of the architects at VCBO.Â
Even the design of the two-story building with its jutting stairwells that lead to a balcony overlooking “basecamp,” or the school’s cafeteria, leave one with that top-of-the-world feeling. “I can hardly wait to move,” remarked a teacher during the tour.
School faculty and staff won’t have to wait much longer. Crews have begun to place the sheet rock, furniture will be moved the first week of June, and an open house is tentatively scheduled for early August in time for the 2016-17 school year. The rebuild is among 13 on time and under budget construction projects financed with proceeds from a $250 million bond that voters approved in June 2010, explained Canyons Business Administrator Leon Wilcox at a recent Board of Education meeting.
Once Butler Elementary is completed, just three projects remain:
- Midvale Middle School: Crews have installed the foundation and plumbing and expect to have the building fully enclosed by fall. Work on the interior will begin in winter with a completion date of August 2017.
- Alta View Elementary has been designed, and is currently out for bidding for sub-contractors. A groundbreaking ceremony will be held on April 19.
- The design process is underway for a remodel of Indian Hills Middle School. Designs will be brought before the Board in fall along with a resolution to temporarily relocate the school to the Crescent View building in 2017-18. Construction will begin in spring 2017 with a completion date of August 2018.
With Butler Elementary, as with all the projects, careful attention was paid to maximizing space and resources. Staying within a budget means there aren’t a lot of fancy extras. But a school committee had some say in the amenities, including lockable wardrobes, private bathrooms for kindergarteners and at Principal Christie Waddell’s suggestion a small outdoor patio adjacent the faculty lounge.
Each classroom is wired to accommodate the latest in educational technology. Dual-immersion teachers have adjoining classrooms, enabling them to more easily collaborate. Internal skylights let in more light. And windows looking out into the hallway of each classroom allow teachers to keep an eye on those students who are pulled aside to work with aides.
It’s all these little things combined that promise to streamline instruction and make for a more enjoyable learning atmosphere for everybody, Cope says. “We’ve got some very happy teachers here.”
For a photo tour of Butler Elementary visit the Canyons District Facebook page.Â