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The City Journals

Alta High changing Sandy neighborhood skyline

Jan 22, 2019 04:35PM ● By Julie Slama

Construction already is underway on Alta High’s new performing arts center, which is being added to the 40-year-old school. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

By this time next year, Alta High’s stand-alone performing arts center should be completed.

The 1,400-seat auditorium, being built on the northwest corner of the 27-acre campus, already has exterior walls in progress that rise above the height of the current 40-year-old school.

“The construction crew is doing the stage area now and by summer, they’ll be working on the interior,” Principal Brian McGill said, adding that the exterior will be red and gray with a glass facade. “The inside will have a dark gray composite and will look like a nest. We’re already nicknaming it the ‘Hawks Nest.’”

Alta High is undergoing an approximate $49 million expansion that includes the performing arts center, which McGill fondly refers to as a “crown jewel.”

Canyons School District Business Manager and Chief Financial Officer Leon Wilcox said drywall, framing, plumbing, mechanical and electrical are expected this spring on the auditorium, the most expensive portion of the construction project.

“The auditorium alone costs about $30 million,” he said, adding that crews are making good progress and it is on schedule.

Construction is made possible with the voters’ 2017 approval of the $283 million bond, which also will include new school buildings at Hillcrest High, Brighton High, Union Middle, Midvalley and Peruvian Park elementaries, a new West Draper Elementary, a new White City elementary as well as classroom and lunchroom additions at Corner Canyon High.

The construction also includes a fieldhouse north of the football stadium. The fieldhouse, which crews already broke ground on, will serve most sports, drill team, marching band and physical education classes, McGill said. The facility will have a second-level gallery with windows facing the football field so patrons can support the Hawks in the warmth as well as have restrooms closer to the stadium and an indoor concession stand.

“It’s an A-frame warehouse look, with turf and netting around the perimeter in the interior. It should be done by late summer,” he said.

There will be changes with the interior of the school, which start mid-year next school year, Wilcox said. He said the bid process was to get underway in February 2019.

“We won’t begin the interior until winter 2020, after the auditorium is done in the performing arts center,” he said.

The current auditorium, which only seats 730 students of the 2,300 enrolled at the school, will be altered to become a smaller venue for theater productions, McGill said. 

Several offices and classrooms will be relocated, including the main office being moved next to the main entrance, the ceiling in the commons area being raised 35 feet, a green room will be added for video broadcast, and windows will be added for more natural light. A security entrance will guide visitors to the main office before they can gain access to the hallways. 

“It has all been well planned so students won’t see a disruption to classes this school year,” McGill said. “Most of the community is witnessing the biggest physical changes this year, but students may be impacted more next year with the changes in the commons and interior.”

McGill said that with the northwest parking lot demolished, spaces were added to the west lot. The buses now drop off and pick up on the north side of the campus.

“In reality, we will gain more parking once construction is completed. In the meantime, there is street parking, where allowed, and we made arrangements with the Church (of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) on 11100 South to use their parking lot, especially for events,” he said. “These changes — a full-blown fieldhouse and stadium concessions, a black box theater and a crown jewel performing arts center — will give our students the greatest opportunities. Being an alum of Alta, the community deserves this transition from the two-story brick school built to serve students in the 1970s.”