1 of 2
Provided by Murray School District
Murray High is transformed into Summerton High School, complete with a ram, for the Disney Channel's "Minutemen."

"High School Musical" is East High School's claim to Disney fame.

Maybe "Minutemen" will be Murray's and Highland's.

Murray High in the heart of the Salt Lake Valley and Highland High in Salt Lake City are the backdrop of the upcoming Disney Channel Original Movie, "Minutemen," a comedy/sci-fi adventure about three high school students who invent a time machine to spare themselves and other teens from humiliation. The movie, starring Jason Dolley of Disney's "Cory in the House," is expected to be released next year, the Disney Channel reports. It was filmed at the schools last month.

"We liked to have them recognize us ... the stadium and the facilities," Highland High principal Paul Schulte said. "I was left with a good feeling."

The movie revolves around the fictional Summerton High School, home of the Rams.

For that, Highland High's football stadium came ready-made, set against the greenery of Sugarhouse Park and with its Rams mascot proclaimed right on the hillside. Murray's new school digs and orange color scheme apparently seemed a good fit for filmmaking, too.

Yet movie magic stunned some students filing in for registration and athletic practice. Murray Spartans were greeted by a bronze Ram outside the door, and Rams' stadium bore rival school colors just before game day.

"I think that a few kids (at registration) ... were unsure if they were in the right place, initially," said principal Scott Bushnell of Murray, whose entrance was stamped with "Summerton Rams." "With all due respect to the mascots out there, Murray High is proud to be the Spartans."

Yet the props were removed in time for school to start, and for black-and-white Highland football jerseys to march to victory against orange-and-blue Mountain Crest, 27-14.

Murray's commons area, meanwhile, got a new paint job, brightening its vanilla walls with orange, greys and tans.

But the big perk is green: Money for schools in a state that spends the least per student in the country.

Salt Lake City School District got $18,000 for Salty Pictures Inc. to film for seven days, district spokesman Jason Olsen said. The production company also donated $5,000 to the school, which went to compensate the displaced football and soccer programs and to buy school spirit shirts for the entire student body, principal Schulte said.

Murray's rental agreement called for $400 a day, or $3,200 total, plus compensation for custodial staff, Murray School District spokeswoman D. Wright said. A $10,000 donation also went to the school, with the promise of a coming donation to the football program and to compensate teachers displaced, she said.

"This all in all was a great, positive thing we felt was good for our school," Wright said. "They were most generous in wanting to make a positive contribution."


E-mail: [email protected]