Design decided at Eagle Valley Middle School |

Design decided at Eagle Valley Middle School

Teri Vance

The most notable thing about Eagle Valley Middle School, said architect Angela Bigotti, is that it’s not very notable at all.

“It’s just a non-descript school,” she said. “You wouldn’t even know it was a school by looking at it.”

But that’s about to change. As part of the bond passed in November’s election, the school is going to get a makeover.

“There will be a new entrance with a very contemporary look,” said project manager Mike Mitchell, who gave an update to the school board Tuesday night.

However, he said, the design is practical as well.

“We’ve created a lot more driveway length for parents to be able to stage when picking up or dropping off, without having to be out on Fifth Street,” he said. “Traffic will flow much better.”

The biggest change will be the gymnasium, which can be divided into two courts. When combined as one, it seats about 750, more than doubling the capacity of the current gym, which is not large enough to house the entire student population.

“It gives the school a whole new presence,” Bigotti said. “And it improves the functionality of the school. Its a very well-balanced space overall from top to bottom.”

Natural lighting will be incorporated throughout the addition, which will “reduce the electrical demand,” Bigotti said. “They’ll see dramatic savings in energy.”

The entrance to the school will shift to the addition, making the site more secure, Mitchell said.

The current office is around the corner from the entrance, making it easy for visitors to bypass the administration office and go straight down the stairs to the main area.

“Now, the office is going to be right up in the front,” Mitchell explained. “Staff will have a better ability to manage who is coming and going.”

He said tentative plans have been scrapped to include the letters E V M S made of corrugated metal at the entrance of the school, along with a red canopy.

“We found they weren’t very cost-effective,” he said.

Bigotti said after meeting with school administrators, the architects learned the school is looking to create a sense of community, and the design will help do that.

“It will give Eagle Valley Middle School a new identity,” she said. “It will reflect a new culture and help develop a character.”

The 10-year rollover bond was approved by voters in November’s election and will be divided into three phases.

In the first phase, every school in the district will receive improvements, ranging from heating and lighting upgrades, to increased handicap accesses and heightened security. It will cost $25 million, with Empire and Eagle Valley making up $13 million of that.

The second phase will be $10 million to begin in 2013 and be completed in 2014. It is expected to address needs at Pioneer High School and in career and technical arts at Carson High School.

The third phase of the bond will be designated to upgrade technology throughout the district.

Mitchell said construction at both schools should be complete by fall next year.