New innovative Farmington High School opens its doors

by Becky GINOS FARMINGTON—Walking through the doors of the new Farmington High School is sort of like taking a step into a futuristic world. It has an open, airy feel with large staircases and windows that have natural light pouring through. The two-story, 405,000-square foot facility located at 548 West Glovers Lane opened its doors to the public last Thursday for a sneak preview of the building that has been in progress since December 2015. Designed by VCBO Architecture using ideas from focus groups made up of staff, faculty members, district administrators and students the school is full of innovative elements. “This is incredible,” said Chris Williams, Director of Communications for Davis School District. “This wouldn’t exist without the voters passing the bond.” “We’re excited, this is an amazing opportunity,” said Farmington High Principal Richard Swanson. “It’s been in process for over two years. We’re finally going to have students in the building.” Swanson said there will be an optional senior class and about 200 students from Davis and Viewmont High have elected to come. “We have around 1,500 (total) enrolled today but we’ll probably be a little above that when school starts. Next year we anticipate around 2,000.” Amid the turmoil surrounding safety in schools, Swanson said they’ve taken extra precautions. “We take safety very seriously,” he said. “We’ve spent a great deal of time with the Farmington Police Department in our building, and other specialists. Students will all carry ID lanyards and so will any adult visitor.” Anyone who comes in must pass through the office and interact with an adult, added Williams. “Every kiddo is precious. There are all kinds of cameras, but the number one method is to make sure everyone has a personal relationship. That will go a long way to make sure the climate here is fantastic. We’ll have 1,400 sets of eyes and ears to let us know if they hear anything and caring adults to help.” The school features unique learning suites with varied size classrooms and teacher offices. “It’s a totally different design with the learner in mind,” said Jeanne Jackson, Principal with VCBO Architecture. “It’s a collaboration to teach people how to work together and engage young people. Teachers will have office hours much like college professors.” There are also charging stations throughout the building. “Students are using their devices to learn,” said Jackson. “If they run out of juice they can plug it in so they don’t get stressed.” Classrooms are equipped with whiteboard walls and desks that can be reconfigured depending on the need. “They won’t just sit kids facing forward and be lecturing,” Jackson said. To take attendance, students will scan their ID badge in every room they go into and they won’t be assigned a locker, said Swanson. “The lockers will have a code that can change every day. They don’t use lockers a lot, but if they’re in a certain wing where it’s going to benefit them they can use it there instead of going all the way back to the other side of the school. They can be reset on weekends or whenever it’s necessary.” The school is designed to be highly energy-efficient as well with LED lighting, ground source heat pumps, thermal displacement ventilation and evaporative cooling. “People won’t get as sick in this building,” Jackson said. “The tempered glass makes the air rise up and takes the germs to the ceiling. Also the natural daylight increases learning by 20 percent.” Both the exterior and interior colors and design were inspired by Farmington Bay. “We wanted it to look exciting and different to show that it’s not a traditional school,” said Jackson. Swanson is no stranger to running a large high school, having served as principal at Davis High before coming to Farmington. “I’m looking forward to getting the kids in the building and starting the teaching process.”


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