If rebuilding a high school is a major undertaking, try tackling three at once.
Imagine building those schools on top of school while school is in session. Then, add to that, the challenges posed by pandemic-related labor shortages and supply-chain disruptions — and you get a sense of why the grand openings of the new Alta, Brighton, and Hillcrest high schools are such a big deal for the Canyons District community.
“This is a major accomplishment many years in the making,” says Canyons District Board of Education President Nancy Tingey. “With the completion of these projects, every community within Canyons will have access to safe, modern high schools that reflect the high aspirations and achievements that our students set for themselves. We’re not just building schools, we’re building the future. These new schools will benefit generations to come and wouldn’t have been possible without the trust and support of our patrons.”
Ribbon cuttings to celebrate the new campuses — which collectively serve more than 6,600 students, or about 19 percent of CSD’s student population — have been scheduled to take place the week before the start of the 2021-2022 school year. Students, parents, teachers, alumni, and community members are invited to attend the events, which kick off at 6 p.m.
- Brighton High, Wednesday, Aug. 11
- Arts and Technical Education Center, South entrance
- Alta High, Thursday, Aug. 12
- New Auditorium, South entrance
- Hillcrest High, Friday, Aug. 13
- Student Commons, East entrance
Canyons broke ground three years ago on the rebuilds of Brighton and Hillcrest and the major renovation of Alta High. But the path to these projects was laid with the passage of a voter-approved general obligation bond in 2017.
“Many of the schools we inherited when Canyons was created were aging and in need of refurbishment,” said Superintendent Dr. Rick Robins. “The very creation of the District in 2009 was a call to action as voters made clear the need to bring schools up to equitable learning and safety standards.”
Tackling all three high schools at once was ambitious. But in order to keep costs contained, it was imperative to get to work as quickly as possible, says CSD’s Business Administrator Leon Wilcox.
Having overcome labor and materials shortages, construction crews are racing to put finishing touches to classrooms and other critical areas in time for first day of the 2021-2022 school year. “The builders and architects have truly pulled off miracles to keep these projects on track,” Wilcox said, noting that parking areas, landscaping, and other features should come on line later this fall.
While each building has its own character, the campuses share a focus on safety and sustainability. Constructed to meet seismic and other standards and wired to support emerging teaching technologies, the new steel-based structures are built to last.
The buildings were completed in phases so as to allow the campuses to remain open and operational throughout the construction. Attention was paid to preserving recent investments, such as updated football stadiums. Commons areas are designed to be multi-functional and infuse the buildings with the learning benefits of natural light. The buildings are also designed to be more energy efficient.
Among other shared features are the addition of:
- Multi-purpose fieldhouses and athletics facilities
- High-tech arts and technology centers
- Group study and teacher-collaboration areas
- Classroom wings that lock down and are configured to provide administrators with clear lines of sight for safety
- Improved parking and traffic flow
Next on Canyons District’s school improvement list are Union Middle School and Peruvian Park and Glacier Hills elementary schools. Rebuilds of these schools are underway with crews expected to finish the elementary schools by fall 2022 and the middle school by fall 2023.