Ophir Canyon Education Center Master Plan

Tooele County School District inherited property in the small mining town of Ophir, Utah, after the town disincorporated in 2017. With the aid of the Tooele County School District and the Tooele Education Foundation, MHTN Architects worked pro-bono providing design services and recommendations for the Ophir Canyon Education Center. This project supports the mission and vision of the Tooele County School District by providing students and staff an innovative place of wonder and inquiry to enrich and enhance their educational experience, while celebrating science and ecology along with local history and geography in the  natural setting of Ophir Canyon.

Our team worked on design services and recommendations for the Center by conceptualizing an innovative place for outdoor learning and recreation. The design connects students to open-air classrooms, educational buildings, wildlife wetlands, and a learning amphitheater. The master plan and associated phasing strategy carefully outlines how the Center can provide access to outdoor education for students who need it, in a cost-effective way by adaptively reusing existing facilities and augmenting with new facilities.

SERVICES: Master Planning, Landscape Architecture, Conceptual Visualization, Architecture

APA Utah Award of Merit

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Design Challenge
One of the keys to success of the proposed plan was leveraging the existing conditions on site which create the opportunity for spaces to highlight different ecosystems and activities for varying class and group sizes. The Education Center provides an opportunity for students to go outside and connect to the natural world around them, sparking creativity and new learning skills which can support students who need outdoor learning opportunities to augment the traditional classroom.

Tooele, UT | 10 Acres | 2018

Earth Centered
A life-cycle approach to planning is considered, by designing and retrofitting facilities to be multipurpose, highly-efficient, and durable meeting the needs of the Center today without compromising its future. The approach to the site will utilize native plants and materials to establish a network of paths throughout the site connect to the adjacent public lands, encouraging active learning and respect for the geological, biology and hydrological systems throughout Ophir Canyon and the Oquirrh Mountains.