Tom Smart, Deseret News
A former school in Sandy houses the Boys & Girls Club, Orchestra and Chorus of Sandy City, and Parks and Recreation Department.

SANDY — The old junior high school that served for a time as Sandy City Hall should be renovated and used as a community center, according to a team of consultants paid to determine whether the 83-year-old structure should be demolished.

Premier architecture and sound construction practices used during the Roaring '20s could help the city achieve modern sustainability goals, according to a report prepared by the team and presented to the City Council in mid-June.

The school at 440 E. 8680 South houses the Boys & Girls Club in the cramped basement and city parks and recreation services on the other two floors. The Orchestra and Chorus of Sandy City also rehearses in the building, which could be renovated as a community center for between about $3 million and $3.7 million.

Site and landscaping improvements could cost between $3.3 million and $4 million.

If renovated, the school would continue to house the children's organization and also could house community meeting rooms or services such as Head Start or a health clinic. The Parks and Recreation Department hopes to move into a renovated Alta Canyon Recreation Center.

If fixed up, the school could last another 75 years, according to the report.

Renovation plans for the neo-Gothic, stately school suggest cleaning the exterior blond brick, which has become stained over the years.

The plans also recommend raising ceilings throughout the building — to make space for the original large windows — plus complete replacement of electrical and plumbing systems and replacement of interior plaster walls, many of which were added through the years to divide large classroom spaces.

"Essentially, the city would be getting a new building in a classic, distinctive exterior," according to the report.

Changes to bring the building up to code for seismic and accessibility compliance, including an elevator, would also be required. Engineers will have to X-ray walls and ceilings before determining exactly how much work is needed, but engineers told the City Council the building is in very good shape for its age.

For hundreds of thousands of additional dollars, the school could be renovated into office or residential space. However, the consultants discouraged the city from going that direction, saying community gathering space will be harder and harder to find as the city continues to grow.

Fixing the building rather than destroying it to make space for a new, smaller building will save money and will show that Sandy is committed to retaining historical treasures, the report said. Dunn Associates Inc., Cooper Roberts Simonsen Associates and Envision Engineering of Salt Lake City contributed to the report as did Mechtech Engineering of Logan.


E-mail: rpalmer@desnews.com