Washington County School District sees a building boom

ST. GEORGE — New buildings are going up throughout the Washington County School District, with two new schools under construction and renovations underway at two existing high schools. 

A view of the nearly completed Desert Canyons Elementary School, St. George, Utah, March 16, 2021 | Photo by Ammon Teare, St. George News

Near the Arizona/Utah border, construction at Desert Canyons Elementary School is nearing completion. Hughes General Contractor Superintendent Ron Densley said his crews have been hard at work since construction began in April 2020, and he plans to turn over the finished building to the school district by May 1.

“We plan on opening in August with about 400 students,” said Steven Dunham, district communications director. “At peak efficiency, we’ll be able to serve about 650 students, though there’s infrastructure in place to add up to three portables. Each portable can have two classrooms, so with up to 30 students to a class you could serve 180 more.”

The projected cost of construction for Desert Canyons Elementary School is $13 million. The elementary, along with the other building projects underway, were part of the school district’s most recent bond, Dunham said.

A few miles west down the Southern Parkway, crews are working on leveling the site and preparing to excavate the foundations for a high school devoted to career and technical education. The magnet school, currently dubbed “CT High School,” will serve students interested in getting an early start in their career through focused technical training.

A satellite view of the CT High School site, St. George, Utah, March 16, 2021 | Photo courtesy of Google Maps

“Our anticipation is that students will have to apply to get in, and then they’ll be able to follow a pathway related to their career,” Dunham said. “Coding, computer tech, programing, advanced construction certifications and health industry certifications will be offered. Students will graduate with a degree as well as a certificate in their field.”

CT High School will cost $33.5 million at completion, according to the school district. Dunham said they hope to be able to admit students by 2023.

Pine View High School has recently added four new classrooms by extending a hallway in their north wing, and plans to continue improvements once school is out. Principal Mike Mees said there are plans to expand the cafeteria, which hasn’t been updated since the school was built in 1983. 

“We don’t have a gathering spot. We don’t have a big area for lunch and other activities we host here at the school,” Mees said. “This’ll give us double the space in there.”

Mees said the goal is to complete the renovations in time for the students’ return in August. Improvements at Pine View High School are expected to cost around $2 million in total, according to the school district.

In Hildale, students are looking forward to using the new sports fields and career and technical building going up at Water Canyon High School. Construction began in Fall of 2020, and many of the walls and larger structures have been built, with the fields awaiting better weather for further development.

“Our track team now practices over at the elementary school, but they don’t have a real track,” said Launa Williams, vice principal and athletic director of Water Canyon High School. “They’re super excited, and we’ve had a lot of interest in football and baseball. In fact, we can’t build the fields fast enough.”

An artist’s rendering shows plans for the completed CT building under construction at Water Canyon High School, Hildale, Utah, March 16, 2021 | Photo by Ammon Teare, St. George News

The sports complex will comprise a new football field, track, and baseball and softball fields. The CTE building will host classes and clubs devoted to welding, construction, agriculture, computer science, graphics and esports.

Williams said they’re hoping the football stadium will be available to host this year’s graduation ceremonies, but that may or may not be possible. The project is scheduled to finish in time for students to use the new building and sports complex by August 2020.

The projected cost for the new CT building and sports fields is $10 million, according to the school district.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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