When architects of the new Midvale Middle suggested cloistering the library in a quiet corner of the building, the school’s Media Specialist said, “Sorry, but that just won’t do.”

The library, she explained, should be at the center of the school. It should be an open, inviting space for students to hang out with friends, study, check email, or play an educational videogame. It should be a place to collaboratively explore, create, and even make noise — a place where students find common ground in common interests.

The architects agreed, and the communal design ethic they embraced is evident throughout the entire building. The red brick structure, with its art deco embellishes, reflects Midvale’s ethnically diverse and industrial, working class roots, says VCBO Architecture Associate Brian Peterson. “It evokes strength, strength of unity and strength of purpose.”

The building, which opens next fall, was certainly cause for celebration for teachers who got their first look inside on Friday. Upon seeing his spacious and fully-equipped classrooScreen_Shot_2017-05-08_at_12.46.12_PM_copy.jpgm, seventh-grade science teacher John Henrichsen gave Peterson a bear hug. Currently, his students don’t have easy access to a clean-up station. In the new building, it will be within arm’s reach, saving Henrichsen precious instructional time.

If the new building will be more efficient, it will also be more welcoming. Amenities such as, the state-of-the-art auditorium and TV broadcast room, will expose students to a variety of educational experiences at a time when that’s what their fast-developing brains crave. Modern heating, cooling and wiring will make for a more comfortable learning environment adaptable to the latest technologies. Floor-to-ceiling windows will let in natural light, and a student lounge equipped with programmable neon lighting is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

This building will be a resource for the entire community, Peterson said. Its tiered design helps it blend into the surrounding neighborhood, and its fields and multi-use space and catering kitchen will become a gathering place for neighborhood events.

With this fall’s opening of Midvale Middle and Altara Elementary, and next year’s completion of the remodel of Indian Hills Middle, Canyons School District will have fulfilled promises made to voters as part of a $250 million bond approved in 2010. In all, the District will have completed 13 major improvements without raising taxes and while maintaining a ‘AAA’ bond rating.

In the seven years since the bond was passed, Canyons has built a new Corner Canyon High, rebuilt Midvale Elementary, renovated Albion Middle, added seismic improvements to Sandy Elementary, a new Draper Park Middle, rebuilt Butler Middle, a new Butler Elementary, additions to Brighton and Hillcrest high schools, and rebuilt Mount Jordan Middle.

Additionally, the District added air conditioning to every school that did not previously have cooling air; security vestibules at all elementary schools; a soccer field, tennis courts and athletic fields near Brighton high; upgraded Alta High and made other improvements to Canyons facilities.

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  • The wind howled and shook the balloons at Indian Hills Middle Thursday as community members gathered to celebrate the beginning of a remodel and addition to the school. But nothing could sweep away students’ excitement to get the project going.

    Whoops and cheers accompanied school leaders, administrators, local representatives and members of Canyons’ Board of Education as they ceremoniously turned over a shovel of dirt to mark the beginning of the final project made possible by a $250 million bond approved by voters in 2010. The project is scheduled to be completed for the 2018-2019 school year.

    “I have no doubt that many of you wondered if this day would actually be realized,” Canyons Board of Education President Sherril Taylor told the crowd. “Everything we promised you has been done.”

    The updated school will feature classrooms and collaboration spaces wired for the high-tech demands of a 21st-century education, it will be reconfigured to be more energy efficient, six new classrooms and a spacious cafeteria and commons area will be added with hallways filled with natural light. The school will be temporarily moved to the former site of Crescent View Middle while construction takes place.

    “We’re proud of this new addition to the Sandy community,” Indian Hills Principal Doug Graham said, as students cheered. “We promise you it will be a place of learning, a place of knowledge, a place of true human power.”

    Taylor recognized the attendance of representatives from Hogan Construction and FFKR Architects who will be working on the building, as well as District administrators and Rep. LaVar Christiansen, R-Draper; Utah State Board of Education representative Kathleen Riebe; Region 17 PTA Director Betty Shaw; Sandy Chamber of Commerce CEO and Canyons Education Foundation member Greg Summerhays; Draper City Councilman Bill Rappleye; Canyons Education Foundation President John Martindell; and Sandy Chief Administrative Officer Scott Bond.

    The remodel is the last of 13 projects promised by the Canyons Board of Education with the passage of a $250 million bond. In seven years since the bond was passed, Canyons has built a new Corner Canyon High, rebuilt Midvale Elementary, renovated Albion Middle, added seismic improvements to Sandy Elementary, a new Draper Park Middle, rebuilt Butler Middle, a new Butler Elementary, additions to Brighton and Hillcrest high schools, and rebuilt Mount Jordan Middle. A new Alta View Elementary and Midvale Middle are currently under construction.

    Additionally, the District added air conditioning to every school that did not previously have cooling air; security vestibules at all elementary schools; a soccer field, tennis courts and athletic fields near Brighton high; upgraded Alta High and made other improvements to Canyons facilities. 

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  • Canyons School District has maintained its sterling, “AAA” bond rating, according to the credit rating firm Fitch.

    A signal of confidence to bond investors, the “AAA” designation reflects Canyons’ “solid financial operations...and low debt burden,” stated Fitch in a press announcement.

    This isn’t the first endorsement of Canyons District’s fiscal integrity. Moody's Investors Service also gives Canyons an "AAA" rating. And this year, Business Administrator Leon Wilcox and his team have secured not one, but two budgeting awards. Most recently, Canyons was honored by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada with a Distinguished Budget Presentation Award, which reflects CSD’s commitment to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting. The distinction comes just weeks after CSD’s receipt of the Association of School Business Officials’ Meritorious Budget Award.

    The “AAA” rating, however, is especially critical as it has a bearing on the District’s ability to affordably bond to pay for an estimated $300 million in deferred upgrades to its school buildings. A high rating is like having perfect credit, which translates to low interest rates and millions in savings to taxpayers.

    The District is on time and under budget with construction projects financed through a $250 million bond that voters approved in 2010. Since then, Canyons has undertaken an average of two major construction projects each year with crews undertaking the final project this summer: a remodel of Indian Hills Middle. All this, and more, was achieved without a single property tax increase. 

    Propelled by rising property values, the District’s aggregate taxable assessed valuation rebounded strongly after a 7 percent recessionary decline. This, coupled with growth (new residential and commercial construction), gave rise to an 18 percent rise in valuation between fiscal years 2013 and 2016 — and projections are for continued annual growth.
    A new year. A new home. A fresh look. There are a lot of changes in store for Butler Elementary.

    Not only will students be attending classes in a new school building this fall, but when they enter the lobby for the first time, they’ll be greeted by a modernized version of their Bobcat logo. And if ever they need a little academic inspiration, they can pay a visit to the bronze bobcat statue perched in the main hall, which patrons commissioned from a local artist to serve as a reminder of the Butler’s 139-year history. “Our hope is that students can touch the Bobcat in passing as a reminder to work for good grades,” said Debbie Tyler, a member of the “Friends of Butler Elementary” committee that raised $9,500 to pay for the sculpture.

    Students, their families and members of the community are invited to a sneak preview of the new Butler Elementary — and its new logo and statue — at a ribbon-cutting ceremony and Open House on Thursday, Aug. 18. A reception starts at 5:30 p.m., and the ceremony will begin promptly at 6 p.m. 

    First established in 1877, Butler Elementary has “a wonderful history and loyal following” of community members who are eager to see the inside of the new facility, which they’ve watched take shape over the past year, Tyler says. The rebuild was completed with proceeds from a $250 million bond that voters approved in June 2010.

    Of the building’s 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 Mount 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. 

    The building, with its jutting stairwells that lead to a balcony overlooking the school’s cafeteria was designed to leave students with that top-of-the-world feeling — and artist David Jackson hopes his statue does much the same. “I want kids to be able to walk around it and touch it so that they can relate to it and it becomes a special, cool thing at the school. It should be a way to help develop school pride; I envision kids taking pictures by it or even holding classroom discussions around it.”

    Jackson has been working as a professional artist for more than 40 years. Known for his accurate depictions of wildlife and western landscapes, the Ogden native is often called upon to produce sculptures for colleges and universities. But he says the Butler project has special meaning for him. “I taught high school art for 27 years at Bonneville High in South Ogden,” he says. “And I used to do a lot of artist-in-residence work with elementary-age kids.”

    Jackson’s interest in art began at a young age, and he says his parents recognized his talent and encouraged it. “That’s what good teachers do, whether they’re teaching art, English or math. They recognize kids who have a passion or a talent and look for ways to reinforce them.”

    Perhaps the bobcat will inspire students to follow their passion. “I would say if something brings you joy,” says Jackson, “then pursue it, and practice, practice, practice.”

    DID YOU KNOW?

    ·      Butler Elementary was first established in 1877

    ·      With its rock base, the life-sized bronze bobcat weighs well over 500 pounds

    ·      Since its inception in 2009, Canyons District has completed an average of two construction projects each year.



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    Wednesday, 13 November 2013 00:00

    Mount Jordan Artist Renderings Available

    While colors and other finishing details remain in the works, artist renderings of the new Mount Jordan Middle School have been made available for public view. The renderings were created by MHTN Architects, the architectural firm selected by the Board of Education to design the school following a competitive bid process. Hogan and Associates Construction will oversee the building's construction.

    The new Mount Jordan Middle is made possible by a $250 million bond approved by voters in 2010. The new school will have a state-of-the-art auditorium; a 180-seat lecture hall; hallways and classrooms filled with natural light; an expanded cafeteria and spacious commons area; a gymnasium with two full courts, 14 basketball hoops, large locker rooms, fitness rooms dedicated to dance and strength training, and an elevated indoor running track with a special surface for running; and a performing arts suite for choir and band practices.

    Students and staff temporarily have relocated to the former Crescent View Middle, 11150 S. 300 East, while their new school is under construction. The new school is scheduled to open in fall 2015.
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