The histories of the First Presbyterian Church in Utah and the founding of Wasatch Academy are intertwined. Their inceptions occurred in March of 1875, when the Reverend Duncan McMillan arrived in Mount Pleasant. Members of the Liberal Club – a group of dissident Mormons – said they would support McMillan’s new church in exchange for educating their children.
In 1923, a late Gothic Revival style church was completed according to the design by Ware, Treganza & Cannon of Salt Lake City, a leading architectural firm in the Intermountain West at the time. It was larger than most Presbyterian churches of the region because Wasatch Academy students were required to attend regular services.
Since its completion in 1923, the building did not receive any additions or major renovations, aside from typical maintenance and upgrades. So to help preserve an integral piece of the city’s and the school’s history, Joseph Loftin, Head of School at Wasatch Academy, perceived an opportunity to preserve a historic landmark and create the school’s much needed Music Conservatory in the same space.
In typical Utah construction, the structure was of unreinforced multiple‐wythe masonry walls, wood trusses and floor joists, and a metal roof. The rehabilitation project consisted of a compatible addition adding a large string ensemble room, elevator and ADA access, and storage rooms to the main floor. An enlarged basement contains a guitar ensemble room, a piano lab, ten small practice rooms, a kitchen, mechanical and storage areas, and offices for faculty and church officers. By combining the use of the original structure with a new use, this project supports the local community and fosters the cultural and economic growth of central Utah.