Among the most distinguishing features of Union Middle School are its expansive, grassy playfields, a community asset that will carry forward when the campus is rebuilt.
Not only will there be freshly-planted green space to the west of the new school when it’s completed in the fall of 2023, the campus will also sport a Ninja Warrior-type playground with obstacles, a small climbing wall, and basketball court.
“As our name implies, Union Middle has always been a place where the community comes together to relax, recreate, and learn,” says Principal Kelly Tauteoli. “We are a community-centered school, and we want to plant that tradition and spirit in every in corner of the new campus.”
Students, parents, employees, and alumni are invited to participate in a virtual groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of construction on the new Union Middle at 5:30 on Thursday, April 22. Due to COVID-19 safety precautions, in-person attendance will be by invitation only. But the event will be broadcast live on CSDTV for the entire community to enjoy.
The rebuild is made possible by a $283 million, tax-rate-neutral bond approved by Canyons voters in 2017. Crews with Hughes General Contractors have already begun preparing the site by removing the playfields to make room for the new building. Students will continue to attend classes in their existing school building, giving them a front-row view of the new campus as it takes shape.
Originally built in 1968, Union Middle currently ranks as one of Canyons District’s oldest school buildings. Due to its age, and need for seismic improvements, a facilities review determined it to be more cost-effective to rebuild the school than renovate it.
Designed by VCBO Architecture, the new school will have themed wings for each grade level, a wellness room and gymnasium with adaptive equipment, and large windows and reflective surfaces that maximize the use of natural light.
A modern auditorium will be outfitted to stage Union’s acclaimed musicals. A “Bobcat Den” featuring lighting and special acoustics will serve as a community meeting space for hosting events or bringing more than one classroom together for academic presentations. Inside the school’s high-tech Media Center will be a makerspace where DIY meets education and students can collaboratively learn, explore, and tinker.
“We know communities benefit from strong schools and students benefit from strong communities,” Tauteoli said. “The new Union Middle will be a beautiful space, a place that the community can be proud of, and that will facilitate great learning and activities.”