PCHS construction 98 percent done | ParkRecord.com

PCHS construction 98 percent done

Hilary Hays, Park City High School (PCHS) principal pointed out a collage she had displayed in her office with pictures of the first class to graduate from the "new" high school. The picture was taken in 1928. The class had 32 members. Hays explained how excited she is for the class of 2009, which will graduate about 315 students because they will also be considered the first class to graduate from the "new" high school.

The current school was built in 1969 and has been remodeled or added on to almost 12 times since then, explained Steve Crane, of VCBO architecture, who was one of the lead architects for the project. Crane said that right now, the building is 98 percent complete. According to Hays, the total cost of the project will be around $31 million.

Hays explained that the school is looking forward to a grand opening sometime in November. She said that, around town, people are constantly asking her when they can come see the new school. Hays explained that since most members of the community don’t feel comfortable walking in the main entrance, which the school previously lacked, and asking for a tour, they will hold an open house night. Students will be at the school to talk with community members and pass out flyers on the night of the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Hays said that one of the final touches they need to add to the building is an etched glass art piece that doubles as the hand rail for the main staircase. When the piece is complete, the building will be ready for the grand opening, said Hays.

Construction has been a long process. Hays described the scene two years ago, at the beginning of the school year. She said that there was only a small corridor that led from the existing building through to the library. At one point, she said they closed off the corridor, leaving students and staff stranded without a route between the two sections of the building. According to Hays, sparks were flying everywhere. She said she was told that nobody was in danger, but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t worried.

These are examples of what Hays described as, "bumps in the road." She said that getting through the construction is a testament of the resilient nature of the staff and students.

Ray Timothy, PCSD superintendent, explained that the old high school was a maze of dark, cavernous hallways that wound up, down and all around the building. According to Hays the new floor plan is very open, and students don’t have dark corners to hide in like they used to.

Some parts of the school such as the auditorium were left untouched. Other parts of the building, including the gym and basement, received minor renovations, explained Whitney Ward, one of the project architects. The four classroom houses, black box theatre, dance room, 110-seat lecture hall, and the common area are completely new, according to Ward.

Hays said that having a main entrance is really exciting because when people used to come to the high school, it wasn’t obvious what door they were supposed to use. The new entryway is complete with etched glass panes that say "hello" in a variety of languages, and a brick walkway, each brick being sold as a fundraiser for the school Booster Club.

The high school doesn’t have a crown jewel, according to Hays. She said that there’s something new for everyone in the remodel. Even parts of the school that weren’t included in the original plan received a facelift. For example, the high school football task force raised money to buy new weights for the weight room because they felt inspired by the remodel process.

One of the main goals of the project, as Ward explained it, was to improve the mechanical air circulation system. The boiler room was moved outside the building, and the air circulation system was dramatically improved in the renovation process.

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