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Wasatch High School Students Plan New Midway Community Center


Three Wasatch High School students have been working on architectural plans to redesign the Midway City Community Center. The current building used to be an LDS church ward house and does not match the Swiss motif seen throughout town.

Wasatch High School Center for Advanced Professional Studies students Mary Cernyar, Alison Besendorfer and Skylar Rybarczyk have devoted the past several months to a school project which gives back to the community, offers real life work experience for the students and gives them credit toward high school graduation.

The students are nearly finished with the design work showing a new City Community Center exterior to match the Swiss feel of Midway’s architecture. The building originally was an LDS ward house so when the time comes to redo the exterior, their design work may be adopted. Cernyar explains some of the process they used to come up with the design proposal.

“We’ve done a lot of researching in the beginning to research what was original Swiss architecture and what is classified as Midway Swiss architecture. And we found a pretty big difference there. There's a lot of similarities but there is a different feel in what's Midway Swiss and what's real Swiss.  And then we also had to do a lot of brainstorming and design process to come up with ideas for what we thought was good on the building and what would match. We had to learn how to use a 3D modeling program and build a base sketch of the Community Center."

Besendorfer says their research on European Swiss architectural design revealed a broad range of authentic Swiss building styles.

“There are several things that are different between real Switzerland and Midway Swiss. First of all, on Switzerland, there are many different types of Swiss architectures, like gothic, there's Romanesque. There are many different European designs in actual Swiss architecture, so we had to narrow through all of those different types of Swiss architecture, those different styles. And then when you come down to it, some of the Swiss elements, it comes down to materials. A lot of Swiss buildings they use stone. Well, in Midway, instead of using just any old stone, a lot of the Swiss examples we were able to find in Midway, they use pot rocks. We want to include that Midway design of pot rocks.

They don’t have a cost estimate but plan to work with contractors to get an estimate once they settle on a final design. The original materials used in Midway is a pot rock which they say costs $35 to $40 a square foot.

Midway Mayor Celeste Johnson says the Community Center and Town Square need an update and they look forward to seeing the presentation in this week’s city council meeting.

“And they are looking at our Community Center which has been for many, many, years an LDS church. There was a land swap some years back and the church became the property of the city to use as a Community Center. It's also where our City Council chambers are. It’s time to make it look like part of town square rather than an old church, right? So that's what they've been working on. They’re working under Rob Bouwhuis as a mentor who is an architect and is guiding them closely. Obviously, they don't have the skill set to really have the final thing, but the idea, the concepts. They've done research on Swiss architecture. That's been really fun project.”

The students say it’s been a great opportunity helping them build real life skills. They’ve attended professional meetings and have learned about design and architecture along with developing communication and presentation skills. 


KPCW reporter Carolyn Murray covers Summit and Wasatch County School Districts. She also reports on wildlife and environmental stories, along with breaking news. Carolyn has been in town since the mid ‘80s and raised two daughters in Park City.