Public Works Buildings Thematic Resource nomination and is significant
w because it helps document the impact of New Deal programs in Utah, which was one of the states that the Great Depression of the 1930s most severely affected. In 1933 Utah had an unemployment rate of 36 percent, the fourth highest in the country, and for the period 1932-1940 Utah’s unemployment rate averaged 25 percent. Because the depression hit Utah so hard, federal programs were extensive in the state. Overall, per capita federal spending in Utah during the 1930s was 9th among the 48 states, and the percentage of workers on federal work projects was far above the national average. Building programs were of great importance. During the 1930s virtually every public building constructed in Utah, including county courthouses, city halls, fire stations, national guard armories, public school buildings, and a variety of others, were built under federal programs by one of several agencies, including the Civil Works Administration (CWA), the Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA), the National Youth Administration (NYA), the Works Progress Administration (WPA), or the Public Works Administration (PWA), and almost without exception none of the buildings would have been built when they were without the assistance of the federal government.
The Morgan High School Mechanical Arts Building is one of 232 buildings
constructed in Utah during the 1930s and early 1940s under the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and other New Deal programs. Of those 232 buildings, 133 are still standing and are eligible for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. Of the 232, 104 of them were public school buildings; 51 of them remain. In Morgan County 4 buildings were constructed, 2 of them are left.
This building was constructed in 1936 as part of a $155,000 Public Works
Administration (PWA) building program in the Morgan County School District. Also included in the program was the construction of the Morgan Elementary School and extensive remodeling at Morgan High School. Though a new high school was built one block east of this site, this building is still in use by the Morgan Middle School.
The architects of the building are not known for certain, but it is likely
that they were Scott & Welch of Salt Lake City, who are known to have designed the nearby elementary school, which was constructed at the same time in virtually the same style.
The Morgan High School Mechanical Arts Building is a one-story brick building that is constructed in the Art Deco style. It has a gable roof with a
surrounding parapet wall. The building has a rectangular plan and there are no major extensions or additions. A projecting entrance vestibule is located on the narrow east end of the building. There are two doors along the north side of the building, and a doorway and garage entrance at the rear or west end. The walls have been broken up into vertical panels by low relief pilasters. The stylized geometric capitals on these pilasters are made of concrete and project upward through the coping at the edge of the roof, giving the building a crenelated appearance. The building remains in good original condition and there have been no major alterations on the exterior.