Moving Day

A line of students takes books from the old Richfield High School library, and passes them along until they reach the shelves of the new school library May 20. RHS is in transition as classrooms and other facilities are being moved into a new building. Meanwhile, the majority of the old building is set to be torn down in June.

Miles of wires are being installed along with cabinets, doors and windows. While there is still a lot of work to do, the new Richfield High School is on track to host students in August.

“We’re going to make it,” said Pat Wilson, construction consultant for Sevier School District. He said while some items may not be completed until early August, each day brings the new school closer to completion.

The new RHS is being erected on the campus of the old one, meaning that as crews finish one portion of the new building, students and faculty will have to move into it as construction starts on the next portion.

The phased replacement model was chosen after the district had success doing the same thing with other school replacement projects in the past decade. It also saves the district money by utilizing some of the existing infrastructure and not requiring the purchase of additional real estate, Wilson said.

At this point, some rooms are basically complete, just awaiting the final touches of ceiling tiles and carpet. Other areas are being painted. Mechanical components of the school are being installed, along with miles of wire for computers, phones and electricity.

“All of the furniture is ordered, along with the technology,” Wilson said. “Everything is on track at this point … the detail work takes a lot of time.”

The construction timeline calls for the demolition of the main portion of the old RHS in June. First, building three or “the old tech,” which sits on the north end of the campus, is slated to come down starting Tuesday, June 9. The main portion of the old RHS is scheduled to be razed the week of June 22.

While the old buildings are coming down, Wilson said it’s not an invitation for the public to vandalize them. In addition to safety concerns, Wilson said there is also an ethical concern.

“Those buildings served a great purpose in the community for many years and they deserve to come down with some dignity,” Wilson said.

The construction project resulted in students being given an opportunity to help with the transition from one building to the other last week. Hundreds of Wildcats took turns over the course of two days moving all of the books from the old school’s library into the new one.

“I’d estimate we had about 6,000 books,” said Debbie Bate, school media center director. Approximately 150 students at a time formed a human conveyor belt to move each book.

Having the normal stresses of the end of the school year compounded by moving staff and students hasn’t been overwhelming thanks to people’s willingness to pitch in, said Brent Gubler, RHS principal.

“We’ve had lots of help,” Gubler said. “It had to be a collaborative effort.”

He said students and teachers have been very good to do what they can.

“It’s gone a lot better than we thought it might,” Gubler said.

The first phase of the new RHS is on schedule for completion by the time school starts in August. Construction of the next phase of the new building is slated to begin this summer.

Westland Construction is the general contractor on the project, which is estimated to cost $33 million.

Part of a $46 million bond passed by voters in June 2013, the multiple phase replacement of the high school is set to be complete in 2016.

Students who helped with the book move included Lily Sargent, Travis Wilkinson, Kollin Peterson, Kellon Sandall, Robert Dearden, Elijah Wagner, Luke Congdon, Allison Jeffery, Sofie Romme, Kalissa Nielsen, Keaton Eyre, Justin Troike, Christian Covarrubias, Sheldon Joe, Hadley Sorensen, Zach Dickinson and Anna Brown.

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