West Valley City • Standing just inside the big, red doors in the main entrance to Granger High School, Ofisi Pututau looked like the football star that he was.
Pututau (Class of '94) watched as his two older sisters and younger brother snapped photographs. All four siblings were among the hundreds of alumni who returned Saturday to a final open house at the old school, which is slated for demolition.
"I wanted to see this one last time," said Pututau, who drove from Logan where he works in a treatment center.
Pututau, a prep all-star, also wrestled and competed in field events for the Lancers and went on to Utah State University, where he was an offensive lineman.
Down the hall, David Wakefield (Class of '85) stood by a display case taking pictures of a trophy awarded to the school's champion swim team. Wakefield, who lives in West Valley City, was a member of that team.
"I still keep in touch with my coach Jeff Roland," he said. "He was great."
Roland, an All-American swimmer, was later inducted in the University of Utah's Crimson Club Hall of Fame and continues to teach science in Granite School District.
Major seismic and safety issues at the school required district board members to ask for a bond, which voters approved in 2009. The new complex, just north of the old building, will be open this fall. It can accommodate 2,200 students, about 500 more Lancers than the total enrollment at the old school.
"The new school is big and kind of intimidating," said Olivia Liando, Granger's sophomore class vice president. "I'm sad because I have so many good memories here. Every afternoon at 2:30, a counselor got on the intercom and told us we were to leave the school. It was funny, like when he said, 'You know it's time, and you know what to do.' "
Terry and Jacquie Brown (Class of '64 and '66, respectively) said they're not nostalgic about the old school because it's only a building.
"It's the friends we made here that counts," said Terry. "We keep in touch on Facebook and next year will be our 50th reunion. The Class of '63 had theirs this weekend. It's all about friends."
The Browns, who live in Magna, began dating when Terry was a high school sophomore. They've been married for nearly 48 years a decade shy of the year Granger opened.
Back at the display case, Wakefield aimed his cellphone camera at the girl's swim team trophy. His sister swam for Granger, and his daughter will graduate from the school this month. Two years ago another daughter also became a Lancer graduate.
"Things change," he said. "Friends move and sometimes people don't stay in touch. But I do have a lot of great memories of this place."
The school mascot, Sir Lancer (a gift from the Class of '70), was removed from his pedestal and stored in the principal's office, where people stood in line to take photos.
Demolition will begin shortly. The math and English building is being torn down. But the stadium phase one of the rebuild had its first home football game in the fall of 2011.
Granger High School
Old school • Constructed in 1955 at 3690 S. 3600 West, West Valley City
Out of date • School being demolished because of safety and seismic issues
New school • Built next to old building, scheduled to open in fall
Students • New complex to accommodate 2,200 students; old school had 1,700 students 1955: Granger High opened
Television • "Millionaire" program premiered on CBS
Game • Scrabble debuted on board game market
Music • Elvis Presley made his first TV appearance
Fun • Disneyland opened, "Mickey Mouse Club" premiered
Dwight Eisenhower • First presidential news conference filmed for TV
Business • General Motors first U.S. corporation to make $1 billion in a year.
Source: HistoryOrb.org Keep in touch Lancers
Granger High Alumni Association • A donation of $5 or more, for information, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Buy a brick • Purchase a $50 engraved brick with your name or thoughts for the Legacy Plaza Courtyard; go to school's main office