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The City Journals

Groundbreaking on the new Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center drawing closer

May 21, 2018 12:03PM ● By Carl Fauver

Attendees at a recent open house for the new Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center saw several updated drawings of the planned facility. (Carl Fauver/City Journals)

By Carl Fauver | [email protected]

A year and a half after the project was announced, there’s still nothing to be seen of the new Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center, to be constructed kitty corner (to the southeast) from Taylorsville City Hall.

But Salt Lake County and Taylorsville officials say that was always the plan and much will be visible before the end of the year.

“The design development for the project is now 100 percent completed, and we are down to the finer details such as picking carpeting and furniture,” Salt Lake County Cultural Planning and Project Director Phil Jordan said. “We plan to award a construction bid by Oct. 1, finalize the construction contract by Nov. 1 and have our gold-shovel ground-breaking ceremony a couple of weeks after that.”

Officials are confident construction can continue through the winter, regardless of the weather. They are sticking by their promise the arts center will open in late 2020. 

Normally, on a government project there is talk of an RFP, or “request for proposal.” But Jordan said, the arts center construction will instead require an Request for qualified contractors, followed by Request for bid.. 

“One of our next steps is to issue a request for qualified contractors,” he said. “In this, the design team describes the kind of work that needs to be done, and then contractors submit paperwork explaining what qualifies them to do it.”

After the RFQs are submitted, the arts center design team will review them and notify those contractors they believe could do the job, by issuing them an RFB.

The Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center’s main entertainment hall (the proscenium theater) will seat 320 people on the main floor and another 120 in the balcony. The stage will be 37 feet deep by 50 feet wide.

The smaller, adjacent studio (or black box) theater will feature retractable bleacher seating to accommodate up to 225 patrons.

“Sound proofing between the two theaters has been a very high priority for us,” Project Manager Todd Kelsey said. “We want to make sure, if there is a full orchestra playing in the proscenium, the sound won’t interrupt a quieter performance in the studio theater.”

A former Taylorsville High School student, Kelsey is also an associate principal with Salt Lake-based Method Studio, the firm heading up the design team. Method Studio founding partner — and principal architect on the project — Joe Smith believes plans for the arts center have come together well, because city and county representatives have been willing to put in long hours at lots of planning meetings.

“This has been such a collaborative group,” Smith said. “There has been such a synergy between the design team, the (Salt Lake County) Center for the Arts and Taylorsville folks. The group has brought a tremendous amount of expertise to the project.”

Taylorsville City Councilman Ernest Burgess is one of those who has regularly attended most of those sessions.

“When we first started, we were meeting once a week,” Burgess said. “Then it went to every other week, and lately it’s been about one per month. Everything has really gone well. They have paid such attention to detail." 

Taylorsville Arts Council Treasurer Gordon Wolf also sings the team’s praises.

“(Method Studio and Salt Lake County representatives) have been absolutely fantastic to work with,” he said. “The first two or three meetings they just kept asking ‘Taylorsville, what do you want?’ They have made wonderful accommodations for the arts council." 

In the construction contract between Taylorsville and Salt Lake County officials, it is clearly spelled out the city’s arts council will receive priority consideration in using the Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center. 

There are also no plans to sell naming rights to the facility, ala Vivint Smart Home Arena or the Maverik Center.

“This has been a public partnership from the beginning, with no private funding,” Jordan added. “There could be an opportunity in the future to name the arts center in honor of someone, as is the case with many other Salt Lake County facilities. But we have no plans to sell naming rights.”