Joe DeLuca, Deseret News
DRAPER — During Tuesday's ribbon-cutting for the new Corner Canyon High School, adjectives like "amazing," "beautiful" and "breathtaking" were common as students, parents and community members admired the building's signature domed entrance and its wide, skylight-filled hallways.
"It even smells better than our old school," said senior class officer Sam Barney.
Corner Canyon, the first comprehensive high school in Draper and the first high school built in Canyons School District since its split with Jordan in 2009, was built with funds from a $250 million bond approved by voters in 2010. The school's mascot is the Chargers and its motto is "semper excelsius," Latin for "always higher."
The school features two-story classroom wings, a 120-seat lecture hall, a 1,200-seat auditorium, a 3,300-seat gymnasium that meets NCAA standards and an artificial turf football field with seating for 3,500 home and 1,200 visiting spectators. Corner Canyon is also adorned with a bell tower, which Principal Mary Bailey said will glow blue to signify victories in athletics and other extracurricular events.
"The light will unify the community behind the achievements of the school and it will serve as an announcement to the world that good things are happening here," Bailey said, "and I predict great things will happen here on a daily basis."
Bailey described the building of the school as a labor of love and joked that she can now check "open a high school" off her bucket list. She expressed appreciation to the crowd of roughly 200 that participated in the ribbon-cutting, particularly the school's future students.
"This beautiful school is not about the adults," she said. "This beautiful school is about the children and students who will go here, so this is for you."
Ginger Rhode, interim superintendent for Canyons School District, said that when the district was created, patrons made it clear that they wanted new and renovated schools. She said the district has worked hard to design a facility that is easily accessible, aesthetically pleasing and energy-efficient.
"We're proud of this new addition to the Draper community," Rhode said. "We promise it will be a place of learning, a place of knowledge and a place that can serve as the heart of this community."
Katie Stringer attended the ribbon-cutting with her son, who she said would be part of the Corner Canyon graduating class of 2025. She said it's exciting to finally have a high school in Draper City where students can stay close to home.
"This is a big deal not to have to go all the way north," Stringer said. "I think they've done an excellent job with the school."
Lori Pathakis, a former PTA president at Alta High School, attended Tuesday's event in support of the new "sister school" despite living in Sandy. She said it's nice that her Draper neighbors will be able to attend a school in their community instead of crossing town.
"It's hard because we've all grown up together through the years," she said. "It feels like our friends are split off from us, but it's exciting, too, and we're happy for them."
Brandon Mortensen, a Corner Canyon senior class officer who attended Alta High School for the past two years, said he likes the shorter commute the new school will provide.
"It's definitely nicer than the 15-minute drive to Alta," he said. "I love all the skylights, the windows, all of the natural light."
Barney said the transition has given student officers a lot to do in order to get ready for the Corner Canyon's inaugural school year. He said it's an exciting time to be a student leader as the student body comes together to form new traditions and a new school culture.
"It's been a really busy summer getting these ideas that everyone had and putting them together, but it's been worth it," he said.
The school year begins Monday for students attending the new high school.
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