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PROVO — Much speculation has run its course since Brigham Young University bought the plot of land on the other side of University Avenue from its main campus, where the old Provo High School once stood.
The university revealed its plans for the future of the secondary school campus this week.
Minimal construction began this week on the former high school campus as the university prepares to temporarily house the College of Fine Arts and Communications in the old building, the university told KSL.com.
The move is necessary as BYU begins construction on a new fine arts and music building to replace the Harris Fine Arts Center. That project, which is currently under construction east of the school's J. Reuben Clark Law School, is expected to be finished by the end of 2022.
Beyond then, the university hasn't made a final decision about the land at the old Provo High.
"There haven't been any permanent decisions announced on the former Provo High School property," BYU spokesman Todd Hollingshead said.
BYU purchased the 25-acre property in 2016 for $25 million, which helped Provo School District move the high school to a brand-new building on Lakeshore Drive on Provo's west side.
Since then, the old campus has sat largely vacant, save for a few classes, as different departments have cycled through the building during various construction phases on campus.
In 2019, the school tore down a portion of the former high school campus — the old "D Wing" that housed classes such as wood shop, history and social studies, among others — due to outdated construction and safety concerns.
The building — or more specifically, the gymnasium — was also used as a mass COVID-19 vaccination site during the pandemic. The BYU men's basketball team has recently practiced in the old gym, in addition to the usual spot at the Marriott Center Annex.
The full-length high school football field and attached track have also been used for BYU intramural athletics (in addition to their usual home on the intramural field north of campus), player-run football practices and private skill sessions, as well as the university's wide array of summer sports camps.
Provo High was founded in 1921 and moved to the location now owned by BYU around 60 years ago, at the corner of Bulldog Boulevard (1230 North) — since renamed "Cougar Boulevard" by Provo mayor (and Provo High graduate) Michelle Kaufusi.
The longstanding former high school has witnessed the graduations of a number of famous alumni, including University of Utah head football coach Kyle Whittingham, Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith and former BYU quarterback Gifford Nielsen, who was named to a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.