• Conservative Leadership in Senate District 8

Principal Leavitt and Hillcrest High School

Transcription: 

- [Brian] Well good morning everyone. This is Brian Zehnder, current State Senator and very interested member of this community. And I'm with principal, Greg Leavitt, today, from Hillcrest High School.

- [Greg] Hello everybody.

- [Brian] And we're here to talk a little bit about the new high school. And I'm just looking at this beautiful picture, this rendition, and it's, uh it's just beautiful. And I wanna just, first of all just get to know Principal Leavitt a little bit. Greg tell me a little bit about yourself, and how long you been with the school.

- [Greg] You know this is my fourth year here. I started as a math teacher at Butler Middle School up in Cottonwood Heights where you live. And in the 1990s, and became an assistant principal, a counselor and pretty much landed here, and this is my fourth year.

- [Brian] Fourth year, okay, wonderful. And you're already embarking upon a pretty exciting project, coming along.

- [Greg] Yeah, yeah, it's a good project. I had the opportunity to work with at Draper Park. We built that from ground up. And so, this is second go around for me on building a school.

- [Brian] Second go around, okay. We're building a school

- [Greg] So it's kind of exciting I like it. I like this kind of work. It's fun to, and it, not only fun but very important to put these students in the right environment for the day.

- [Brian] Yeah.

- [Greg] Yeah.

- [Brian] Yeah, indeed, indeed, I know I was very fortunate to be at the groundbreaking ceremony. There were a lot of people there, and it sounds like it is going to be a pretty incredible project when it's done.

- You know, it is. I think, you know, I suspect that, I'm pretty competitive, Tom SherwoodTom Sherwood and I talk about it a little here and there, but I hope this project is the crown jewel of Canyons' District. I believe that we are designing a school here that is gonna serve the community, serve the students. You know this is a 70 year building.

- [Brian] Yeah.

- [Greg] So for the next 70 years, it's gonna be amazing.

- [Greg] Most of you know that we're getting a new high school not only Hillcrest but also Brighton. So when he was talking about Tom, he was talking about his neighbor down the street, and of course they both want to do something meaningful for this community. So yeah.

- [Greg] Yeah.

- [Brian] So tell me how much is this going to cost us, the tax payers.

- [Greg] You know, the voters in this area, in Canyons' district, voted a 283 million dollar bond, which we are all grateful for, because it is needed to rebuild and finish off some of these school. I'm one who believes that Canyon's district has kept their promise, been through the very beginning of that, and I was here when the split happened. This community really wanted some schools paid attention to.

- [Brian] Yeah.

- [Greg] And I think Canyons has done that, and so 90 million of that 283 will be spent on Hillcrest, and I think that the district is doing a good job of allocating the right amount of funds for this project and keeping it equitable with the other projects that need to be across the district.

- [Brian] Sure, and I understand they have already started construction. I think some of us have been driving down next to the school and say, "what are they doing there, anyway?" And for some of us that don't really know, We've already gotten started. Is that right? Tell me what's been going on so far. So, they had to work with the canal company and reshape the canal on a temporary basis so they could have room to dig the hole for the sunken gym.

- [Brian] So, the first step is to get that gym in place that's a pretty impressive hole.

- [Greg] Right next to our football field.

- [Greg] And, then they'll move the canal back. They've also, tearing down the building which a lot of resident around this area will recognize as that peach window place where, peach tree windows.

- [Brian] Yeah. Yeah.

- Peach tree windows, they've torn that building down.

- And we've purchased that property

- That's gonna be a third entrance into Hillcrest High School

- [Brian] Okay. So now, Hillcrest High School, which is the beautiful part of this, will have four entrances.

- It'll have one down there in the northeast corner and then the two original ones on Husky Drive and 7th East, okay, and then it'll have a ride in, ride out up in the southeast corner,

- [Brian] Okay, and, tell me a little bit about the student excitement about this. I know they seemed pretty excited at the groundbreaking, but I want to know-

- [Greg] They did, they did. You know, the students that are really excited are the freshmen starting this year. They'll be the first graduating class in this new school,

- [Greg] The class of 2022.

- [Brian] Okay. So they'll be the first class graduating. 2021 might make it, just on the, if everything goes right, the class of 2021 might make it,

- [Greg] But the class of 2022 will have that full year in the new school, and they'll graduate in the new school. And so they are, they are very excited.

- [Greg] So, yes, I've got this hat on. I guess it's Westland Construction that is going to be doing the project, is that right?

- [Greg] Westland is doing the project, currently under the direction of FFKR Architecture. They are a very, great team to work with, very positive.

- [Brian] Yeah.

- [Greg] Good, good. Well, tell me a little bit about the safety of the new school. I know everyone has been talking about school safety the last couple of years. We've had some issues, as we know, in Florida and in other places. I'm assuming, there is gonna be some enhanced safety things for our children.

- That is a really good question, so, you know, there are two parts about safety, and openness about schools. There's the concept of, you know, we need transparency in schools now days.

- [Brian] Right.

- And so, there will be some windows in our school, so students can see out of the classroom, there's collaborative work outside of the classroom, and there's, just a, more transparent vision there.

- [Brian] Sure.

- Okay? Now, to be quite straight with you, that does not allow for a lot of barricading in classrooms if there's something going on.

- [Brian] Yeah.

- [Greg] But what we are doing as you can see on this school, and maybe I'll put this map in front of you.

- [Greg] This school is gonna have, right here, a four-story tower,

- [Greg] And we are putting in cameras from module to module, so students will be able to see what is happening in this area before they walk into it and vice versa. We're also, in the attendance area, of the school, we're putting a camera kiosk, so there will be personnel at that desk being able to see what happens are every door in our school, which currently, our cameras are in a backroom, and when we want to look at them, we look at them. They are not actively looked at.

- [Brian] Oh, okay.

- [Greg] It's only after the incident, so we are going to be much more proactive with our camera work now.

- [Brian] Sure.

- [Greg] The personnel in that area of the building will be able to look at those cameras and say, "hey that door is propped open" or "there's someone approaching that door" or "something is going on there."

- [Brian] Yeah.

- [Greg] And then we can react to that, right?

- [Brian] Yeah, sure.

- The doors will be locked during the day only on hall passing times will they be open, and so we will ask kids to come to this general check-in area at the front of the school

- [Brian] Okay. to be able to get in. So it may be one of the first high schools that is kind of like our elementary and middle schools.

- A little more, hey, you need to come to the front of the school to get in.

- [Greg] But because we have such big front entrances, I think the best way to look at it is here, you know, big front entrances, right here with lots of glass and opening and that attendance area, it will be right there in the front. So kids will be able to walk right in and get that done.

- [Brian] Wow, that sounds really exciting. We have some enhanced safety measures. We want our kids to be safe, of course, but we still maintain some of the openness that is so important for our children and their educational environment. That is great, nice combination of both, nice balance.

- [Greg] Yeah, I feel like it is. Not everyone agrees,

- [Brian] Yeah.

- [Greg] And let's be honest, not everyone agrees with the balance, but I feel like it's a nice balance. I am hopeful that the way we are designing this, to my understanding, is a little unique in the way we are putting our cameras and where we are putting them is unique to a high school.

- [Greg] Because of our check in station being separate from the regular attendance office.

- [Brian] Yeah, so what are you most excited about over the next two years with regards to the project?

- [Greg] In finishing the project or just the build of the project?

- [Brian] Either one, both.

- [Greg] Yeah, yeah? You know, as I did with Draper Park, it is fun to watch the walls go up

- [Greg] And the building take shape, our kids will get excited about it.

- There is just a neatness there. I think I am probably most excited for the new performing arts areas in our school, because that's a big part to Hillcrest-

- [Brian] Tell me a little about that.

-[Greg]  It's just going to be a beautiful area. You know, and this where you can congratulate Canyons' district, and they made sure that our school kept the right size of performance arts area.

- [Greg] Instead of downsizing it for our students, we'll still have the biggest stage in the district. We'll still have the biggest dance area. All those kind of things, probably the most seating of any other auditorium in the district. It'll seat 1500, so we're excited about that.

- [Greg] That's really exciting to me, cause I am very much interested in performing arts and the fine arts actually. I was a cellist in high school

- [Greg] There you go.

- [Brian] And I had the plan that I was going to be a professional musician someday and then, I realized it's hard to make a living.

- [Greg] Yeah.

- [Brian] So, anyways.

- [Greg] These kids are really good at it, and we are performing Hairspray this year.

- [Greg] We won the triple crown last year, meaning that our kids got the best musical in the state, some of the kids went to New York, cause it was picked as top musical.

- [Brian] Wow.

- We were the best at Shakespeare, and we won state in our theater competition in 6 A, so you know what, Hillcrest is rocking it when it comes to performing arts, and the district is making sure these kids are adequately situated to continue to do that.

- [Brian] Well, that's great. So, when are we going to finish, and is it on time or are they expected to finish-

- It's on time, Fallish, Winterish of 2021.

- Fall or Winter of 2021. That's just-

- Yep! Probably more winter,

- [Brian] That's just, not too far away,

- [Greg] It's really not, it's really not. I keep saying this, the fun part of this, because it'll finish in the middle of the year, and the property will be turned to the school, be turned over to us, somewhere maybe Januaryish, or December 2021 or January 2022, you know we are just gonna say, kids pick up your desks, and walk over to the new building.

- [Brian] So they may go home for Christmas vacation and then come back into the new school. Who knows?

- [Greg] They may, or they may just that day, okay everybody, we're moving to the new school, and everyone walk over to the new building.

- [Brian] Get your backpack, we're moving.

- [Greg] I think that's an incredibly fun thing to see.

- [Brian] That's awesome. Well, thank you so much for visiting with me today.

- [Greg] Thank you, yep.

- [Brian] We want to get the word out to the community about the wonderful things that are happening at Hillcrest, one of the things that are happening in our community, and I couldn't be more excited for what the future, what it's gonna bring.

- [Greg] Thank you, Senator, for your interest.

- [Brian] And go Huskies!

- Yeah!

- [Brian] Alright, take care, bye, bye.

- [Greg] Bye.

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