So here is my first attempt at an interview-based column. I submitted it to Shellie last night, but I don't know if it is what she had in mind or if she will actually run it in the paper, but I'm printing it here anyway. Thanks for reading!
A couple of years ago, Kevin Caldwell was living in Davis County and working in the real estate business. He and his wife, Brittany, had purchased, remodeled, lived in, and then sold a series of homes. Brittany, tired of the process gave Kevin the ultimatum of choosing one last project or else... What a project he picked! As of a year and a half ago, the Caldwells are the owners of the old Millard County Academy. Kevin and Brittany Caldwell and their four children--Colton 22, Shyann 15, Maverick 9, and Savanna 6--have lived in several Utah towns over the years, but have decided to make Hinckley their permanent residence.
Kevin originally saw the old Millard Academy building on the MLS (multiple listing service). The family stopped by to see the building and grounds on their way to Las Vegas for a weekend, they submitted a bid when they returned home, and were closing on the sale a few days later. It was a quick decision, but one the Caldwells are not regretting.
Since moving to Hinckley, Kevin and Brittany have enrolled Shyann, Maverick and Savanna in the local schools; have hauled away over 150 loads of garbage and debris from the premises; replaced the entire roof decking; covered it with tar paper; and installed nearly half of the 90 windows in the building. Kevin says in the next couple of weeks they will start shingling the roof and will continue to install windows so the structure will finally be weatherproof.
During the warmer months, the Caldwells reside in the old gymnasium just south of the school building. Kevin says to imagine living in an RC Willey store. Furniture arrangements define the boundaries of living areas within the large, airy space. During the winter, it is too difficult and costly to heat the whole gym, so they live in a 5th wheeler parked between the school and the gym buildings. That must offer quite a contrast, far beyond the temperatures, between the winter and summer months for the Caldwell family.
Kevin says their ultimate goal is to make the Millard Academy their home. Their plans for the old Hinckley High Gymnasium include refinishing the hardwood floor, re-installing the basketball hoops, adding exercise equipment, and offering it as community sports facility. As for the school itself, he hopes to restore it to its former glory. Kevin and Brittany Caldwell love the history of the area and specifically this building. Many people have stopped by in the last 18 months to see how the work is progressing. Caldwells often offer a tour of the work site and have visitors sign a guestbook. They have appreciated the visits and hearing the stories of hundreds of former students who attended school in the structure. The Caldwell family says this venture is a 10-year project, but look forward to eventually opening the renovated building for tours and hosting an alumni dinner to celebrate the restoration of the magnificent old edifice.