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Cottonwood Heights Journal

First part of 50-year-old Brighton High comes tumbling down as progress on new school continues

Feb 17, 2020 11:27AM ● By Julie Slama

During winter break, Brighton High’s 50-year-old auditorium was demolished. The rebuild of the school will continue through summer 2021. (Photo courtesy of Brighton High School)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

While students were on winter break, 50 years of performing arts memories came crashing down as construction crews tore down Brighton High’s auditorium.

“It’s part of the first phase of demolition,” Principal Tom Sherwood said. “It will be a challenging six months as we find homes for our programs in that area — performing arts, art, family consumer science — but the final outcome will be a beautiful, new updated school.”

Until the new auditorium is complete, Brighton High will use the stage at nearby Butler Middle School. It’s all part of rebuilding Brighton High on the same campus, and part of the $283 million bond voters approved in November 2017. 

“Our goal through each phase of this process is to keep the students safe and provide them learning opportunities,” Sherwood said. 

Sherwood said the first phase is slated to be completed in June. It will include the new arts area for vocational, family consumer science and performing arts as well as the fieldhouse and physical education facilities.

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

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 fieldhouse 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,” he said.

One significant difference, Sherwood said, is the new athletic facilities will have 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. 

In addition, Sherwood is considering displaying Brighton’s athletic talent with 120 championships in 50 years.

“We will have to make sure there’s enough trophy space to display our entire inventory and will have to rethink how we will display all our banners to show our success through the school’s history,” he said.

This summer, the community should see an upgrade in the bleachers at the football and track facility, said Canyons School District Business Manager and Chief Financial Officer Leon Wilcox.

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 the 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 include more art classes, including ceramics, drawing and painting.

Improved wiring for technology is part of the plans, Sherwood said.

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

Wilcox said work will begin on the school office and media center and should be done by winter 2020.

The new school, with the overall cost at $113.5 million, should be completed in summer 2021. Then, Wilcox said the crews will demolish the current school with a circular floor plan, one which people fondly say they get lost “walking in circles.” 

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