Bingham High makeover under way
Oct 24, 2019 03:54PM
By Julie Slama
The first phase of a five-year $31 million renovation at Bingham High is being completed this fall. (Julie Slama/City Journals)
By Julie Slama | [email protected]
When the school year began, there was a few days of shuffling while crews worked on the first phase of a five-year plan to renovate Bingham High School.
“It’s been long overdue, and we’re grateful that the [Jordan] Board of Education walked through the building and could see the need for the renovation,” said former Bingham High Principal Christen Richards-Khong, before she took a position in the district office. “Throughout the building, we’ve had pipes burst and spray all over classrooms, equipment and materials. Cuffs have been placed on the pipes, but then they break in another place or in the hall, and it just creates havoc.”
After an official pipe-breaking ceremony in mid-May, construction began on the 44-year-old school building, with the science and math areas getting new water lines, LED lighting, new data lines, heating and air conditioning upgrades, and new carpet. The phase also includes a complete renovation of the band room and expanded square footage in the music rooms and updated small theater, fondly named the Copper Pit.
“We have a new lighting grid, sound booth, reconstructed stage, storage, fresh coat of paint and insulation as before, the area used to be an open commons and sound could just come through the walls,” Richards-Khong said. “All the electrical was upgraded.”
While theater director Michelle Robbins and students worked around the remodel and technology update early on, she was ecstatic about the upgrade.
“It’s worth working around the construction,” she said. “We’ll be able to have a beautiful space for our students.”
Another area with a major change is the band room. Richards-Khong said the tiers were removed, and the room expanded to the west to allow for more room, practice rooms and storage. New furniture as well as cabinetry was planned as well as a ramp to provide direct access to the band room.
With new tile and fixtures, the bathrooms near the math and sciences classrooms on the north end of the building has a freshened look.
Throughout the building, Richards-Khong said that the spirits of the 2,500 students and of the teachers were picking up as they realized pipes bursting wouldn’t be long term.
“If a pipe breaks, we’d wet vac up the spot and try to clean it up,” she said. “It was inconvenient, a persistent nuisance and not great for morale. Now, with the remodel, teachers and students can see the building freshened up with upgrades, lights and paint, and it’s already making a positive difference. I have some happier teachers.”
Richards-Khong said more projects would be completed during the school breaks during the school year, such as cement work by the stadium where there would be low traffic. Carpeting, tiling and painting also are planned.
In the spring, she said the career and technical education area as well as the main office will start with upgrades.
“We normally do have typical projects to take care of the building, but this is a more thorough renovation with upgrades and taking care of much needed items,” she said.
Jordan District spokeswoman Sandra Riesgraf said the $31 million in renovations, which include new water lines, new data lines and better lighting, should extend the life of the school for at least 20 years.
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.