Draper• If the new Corner Canyon High School looks like a small college from the outside, that is because it will be preparing students' minds for higher education on the inside.
The Canyons School District on Wednesday made history by capping a dome on Draper's first high school at 12943 S. 700 East. It is the first public high school built by the district since the Jordan School District split into two in 2007.
Using a crane, workers carefully placed the 13-ton dome built in Tremonton on top of the rotunda.
The building is nearing completion after construction began 20 months ago. As a 4A school, it will house 1,600 students from grades 9-12 in the fall of 2013.
Canyons School District Superintendent David Doty told a crowd who came to see the "dome drop" that the school was designed to look like a college because its top priority will be preparing children for higher education, in part by encouraging students to take college-level courses in high school.
"We wanted to send a visual signal with how important that is," Doty said.
From its massive stone archways to a 1,200-seat auditorium and a lecture hall, the style and size of the building impressed some in attendance on Wednesday.
The facility boasts a 3,300-seat gymnasium large enough to meet NCAA standards. There is also is a state-of-the art track, an artificial turf football field, eight tennis courts as well as a baseball and softball complex. The school was made possible by a $250 million bond approved by tax payers in June 2010.
Corner Canyon High School Principal Mary Bailey said Wednesday that the school will bring people together once it opens.
"It is about bringing a community together," Bailey said.
She said one thing that will make the school different from others is its emphasis. Corner Canyon High will focus on engineering, robotics and will have a pre-bio technology program.
"The jobs of the future are in engineering," Bailey said. "We are going to go a step beyond and give students a taste of what their future will look like."
The rotunda area at the entrance of the building mimics the look Thomas Jefferson used to send a signal of higher learning when he helped design the campus after he founded the University of Virginia. Doty hopes the look sends the same message for Corner Canyon students as an "academic village." When Corner Canyon High is completed it will absorb some of the 2,400 students currently enrolled at Alta High, easing some of that school's overcrowding. leaving Alta with about 2,000 students and adding those to Corner Canyon along with a freshman class.
"Right now Alta serves everybody from all of Draper to south Sandy neighborhoods," Doty said.
Corner Canyon High is one of five recent bond projects in the district. Sandy Elementary had seismic and code upgrades in the summer of 2011. Midvale Elementary was rebuilt and relocated earlier this year, along with Albion Middle School, which underwent renovations. Butler Middle School's rebuilding will be complete in the fall of 2013, and Crescent View Middle School will be relocated from Sandy and built in Draper next year.