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Cottonwood Heights Journal

New Brighton High will have a new look with the same view

Jan 21, 2019 12:34PM ● By Julie Slama

Brighton High construction already has begun for the new auditorium, the first phase in a three-year project to build a new school. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

By fall 2021, Brighton High students won’t be walking in circles — literally — anymore.

A new high school will take the place of the 50-year-old school, one that won’t be designed in a maze of circles, but instead the new design will provide administrators and teachers clear sight lines down hallways.

That, amongst other features, will allow more safety in the school, said Principal Tom Sherwood.

“Any decisions we have made about the design of this new school have been with the students in mind. The physical, emotional and educational welfare of students will always be at the forefront of our decision-making,” he said. 

The construction price tag for the school — $108 million — is made possible with the approval of voters on the 2017 $283 million bond, said Canyons School District Business Manager and Chief Financial Officer Leon Wilcox.

The bond also includes construction of new school buildings at Hillcrest High, Union Middle, Midvalley and Peruvian Park elementaries, a new West Draper Elementary, a new White City elementary as well as extensive remodeling at Alta High and expansion of classrooms and lunchroom at Corner Canyon High.

Already, the first phase of the Brighton High rebuild is underway with a new performing arts auditorium, arts, career and technical education program spaces and a fieldhouse to the west and east of the existing building. The Bengals baseball and softball fields already are in the process of being reworked to provide a new point of entry at the south end of the property.

“We’re expecting the foundation to be poured for the fieldhouse,” Sherwood said, adding that during the first year of construction no classrooms will be impacted; the gymnasiums, the existing auditorium, media center, main office and academic wings will remain untouched.

The new fieldhouse is expected to alleviate some of the use of the current basketball courts. Dance, drill, wrestling, soccer, lacrosse, physical education classes and other activities and sports can use the multi-use field house with artificial turf, an indoor track and baseball batting cages.

“We anticipate it being a good community asset as we can work out to allow other schools and rec leagues to use it,” Sherwood said.

One significant difference, he said, the new athletic facilities will have is locker rooms and gyms for all students.

“This school was built before Title IX, so it was originally the boys’ gym and the girls’ gym, or the auxiliary gym, and there weren’t locker rooms for both teams. It was built thinking girls were not athletically minded and it’s past time we make that change,” he said.

Already the former parking lot on the northwest corner is being leveled to allow an updated 1,100-seat auditorium with a full fly and improved acoustics as well as lightning and sound. There also will be updated dressing rooms adjacent to the theater and storage for props, he said.

As the school is built on the side of a hill, students will enter the front of the school off of Bengal Boulevard and be able to see new auditorium on the first level. The View, the school restaurant, will be on the second level.

In the back of the school, students will be able to see four stories, with the lowest being the technical classrooms such as woods, automotive, drafting, robotics and jewelry. The next level up will be more arts classes, including ceramics, drawing and painting.

“There will be more open space and adjustments in those rooms to allow for technology. We also want to have them designed to be flexible for the future,” Sherwood said.

Improved wiring for technology are part of the plans, he said.

“When this school was built, the state-of-the-art technology was a black-and-white TV,” he added.

Wilcox said these facilities should be done winter 2020.

A classroom wing will be the center of the school, attaching these rooms and the athletic complex on the east side of the campus, Sherwood said.

The three-story classroom wing as well as the cafeteria and commons and a new Bengal plaza will be included in the second phase. There also will be a large multi-purpose meeting or banquet room located over the library.

The final phase will be the school grounds and better-flowing parking lots.

There also will be improved vision looking outside of the school as large windows and skylights will bring natural light into the classrooms and common areas.

“When they built Brighton, it was on one of the prettiest vistas in the Salt Lake Valley, and they built it without windows,” Sherwood said. “Once the new building is done, we’ll have amazing view of the valley and of the Wasatch Mountains.”