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The City Journals

Two years after first announcement, officials break ground on Taylorsville arts center

Jan 29, 2019 05:02PM ● By Carl Fauver

Golden shovels and white hardhats stand at the ready just prior to the Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center groundbreaking ceremony, outside Taylorsville City Hall. (Carl Fauver/City Journals)

By Carl Fauver | [email protected]

Twas five days before Christmas….

And all through Taylorsville….

A groundbreaking was stirring…

Giving art lovers a thrill.

The groundbreaking on perhaps the most ambitious construction project in Taylorsville history finally took place just before the holidays, following a near two-month delay in the ceremony as county officials recovered from sticker shock and found additional funding to get the job done.

“Our bid amount for the project was $38.8 million, the lowest of five or six bid finalists,” said Jacobsen Construction President and CEO Doug Welling. “But that was higher than the county had budgeted. We could not afford to lower our bid, and eventually they agreed to it.”

County officials admitted to being a little “shocked” the bid came in that high, as they had budgeted $32 million for that portion of the overall $45 million project. But by “reprioritizing” spending (i.e., delaying other planned county projects), they were able to meet the Jacobsen bid.

In the process however, what was originally scheduled as an Oct. 29 groundbreaking became a Dec. 20 ceremony.

 “I feel like a child on Christmas Eve, with visions of plays and music dancing in my head,” Mayor Kristie Overson told the large groundbreaking gathering, standing in the cold air. “This truly is a Christmas gift. This wonderful facility fits into our Taylorsville 2020 vision. We have worked nearly two years to plan this facility, and I can’t wait for the first performance.”

Utah Congressman Ben McAdams also addressed the gathering, wearing his Salt Lake County mayor’s hat for possibly his final official event.

“This new regional cultural asset will provide the fast-growing mid-valley with wonderful performance and rehearsal space,” McAdams said. “I knew when I first started as Salt Lake County mayor how important it would be to get theaters closer to where valley growth is. Everyone should have easy access to the arts.”

McAdams also gave a shout-out to former Mayor Larry Johnson, looking at him in the audience and saying, “You camped at my office… you were there all the time… and your persistence and nagging helped to make Taylorsville the final site location.”

The December 2018 groundbreaking came just more than two years after the December 2016 announcement that the arts center was coming. Now the race is on to avoid another two full years until the Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center ribbon-cutting and first performance.

“Out contract allots us 620 construction days, meaning the center should open in late 2020,” Welling said. “We will have hundreds of construction workers on this project. We like to think the actual ‘first performance’ at the arts center will be those employees, hard at work.”

Commuters along 5400 South will be able to see those performances daily, as the arts center slowly rises from the grass southeast of city hall. 

“There has been such a great need for the Taylorsville Arts Council — for rehearsal and performance space — I am thrilled to see this project get underway,” Salt Lake County Councilwoman Aimee Winder Newton said during her groundbreaking remarks. “This will be a great performing arts hub, serving Taylorsville, Murray and other community groups as well.”

The 70,000-square-foot facility will include a 400-seat primary theater along with a smaller theater, featuring seating configurations of 50 to 200 seats. County officials promise the center will also include the latest in state-of-the-art theater lighting and sound systems.

“This is such a much-needed asset,” City Councilman Ernest Burgess said before the ceremony. “It is so nice to see these dreams come true, particularly for the (Taylorsville) Arts Council.”

Councilman Brad Christopherson added, “This (groundbreaking) marks the culmination of years of work, going back to before I was on the city council (2013). A lot of people have worked very hard for a long time to reach this point.”

Although the arts center will be constructed on Taylorsville City property, Salt Lake County officials will own, staff and operate the new facility. The Taylorsville Arts Council will enjoy “prioritized” use of the site.

The arts center project team includes representatives from architects Method Studio, theater consultants The Shalleck Collaborative, general contractor Jacobsen Construction, Salt Lake County and Taylorsville City.

City Community Development Director Mark McGrath said after the groundbreaking ceremony, “This is going to be fabulous — the architectural icon of the whole city.”

Of course, that is following another two-year wait. But this time residents will be able to watch the Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center grow before their eyes.