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South Jordan Journal

Bingham pipe-breaking ceremony starts five years of improvements to school

Jun 19, 2019 04:38PM ● By Julie Slama

The community came together at a pipe-breaking ceremony at Bingham High as it will undergo $31 million in renovations to extend the life of its South Jordan campus. (Photo courtesy of South Jordan City)

By Julie Slama|[email protected]

Bingham High School Miners are known to be able to adjust and overcome trials and tribulations and having a renovation process for the next five years fits right in with their 111-year history.

On May 16, the Jordan School District Board of Education, South Jordan mayor, local city and business leaders, Bingham High alumni, members of the community, students and staff gathered to watch Principal Christen Richards-Khong officially kick off the renovations with the ceremonial breaking of an old pipe.

“The pipe breaking denotes just what we did; the principal broke a pipe,” Board member Marilyn Richards said. “The building is in sound condition, so this just will extend its life.”

Jordan District spokeswoman Sandra Riesgraf said that the $31 million in renovations, which not only includes new water lines but also includes new data lines and better lighting, will extend the life of the school for at least 20 years.

Richards found that the breaking of galvanized pipes was rightly symbolic as “the water is safe, but an ugly color.”

The plans include five phases, beginning this summer with the science and math areas getting new water lines, LED lighting, new data lines, heating and air conditioning upgrades and new carpet as well as a complete renovation of the band room and expanded square footage in the music rooms.

The next four summers, in addition to upgrades in the water, lighting, HVAC and adding of data lines in other areas, will include improved sound system, stage lights and sound panels in the auditorium; possible relocation or renovation of the media center and main office; audio-visual upgrades to the gym and dance rooms; and by 2023, replacing the roof over the media center, performing arts and some classrooms.

Some of the last major renovations were in 2002, when the remodeled gym was connected to the main building with classrooms and the cafeteria was enlarged, and in 2003, when the academic areas of the school were renovated.

The first Bingham High began with 12 freshmen as a branch of Jordan High School in the old town of Bingham. Through the years, new schools have opened and closed, but the school name and its traditions have continued.

In 1975, Bingham High’s doors opened to about 1,250 students at its current South Jordan location while crews continued to carpet, paint and put in the gym floor.

Bingham High Principal Tom Owen, who served as principal from 1973 through 1977, said students came before the school building was finished.

“Our opening assembly was held in the cafeteria since the auditorium was only a slab of concrete; there were no chairs, no lights, no carpet,” he said. “During the assembly, students sat on rolls of carpet while I welcomed them. The school was far from being completed. We didn’t move from our traditions and who we were. They showed their character when we moved and had problems, but we held on to our traditions as Bingham Miners.” 

That motto has continued as interior walls were erected in 199192, when the open classroom plan, including an open library, wasn’t working.

“Kids were throwing things down from the open balcony onto the library, and you could hear someone yelling in all the rooms,” said Bob Day, who served as principal from 1980 to 1986. 

Now, about 2,500 Miners will again endure while Bingham High is renovated over the next five years.

Mayor Dawn Ramsey agreed the upgrades are much needed, and the result of improvements will be seen for years to come.

“The kids are excited and grateful they get to remain in their high school,” she said. “It’s an important landmark in our community, and with these renovations, they can remain here for years to come.