Coronavirus pushes the first Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center shows into 2021Jul 29, 2020 12:25PM ● By Carl Fauver
Construction work continues both in and outside the new Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center. (Courtesy Taylorsville City)
By Carl Fauver | [email protected]
For months now, the Jacobsen Construction team building the $39 million Mid-Valley Performing Arts southeast of Taylorsville City Hall has been racing the clock—and remaining on schedule—in an effort to finish the new facility in time for Christmas season performances. And despite the alarming rise in coronavirus cases across our state and nation, they were succeeding.
Unfortunately, however, COVID-19 has won that race. But, ironically, the virus here in Utah and the United States is not to blame. Instead, the pandemic some 3,400 miles away, in Colombia, South America, is the culprit.
“The fixed seating we will install in the performing art center’s main auditorium—440 chairs—were ordered from a factory in Colombia,” said Jacobsen Construction Project Manager Doug Carley. “But unfortunately, the virus forced that factory to close for about 2 1/2 months. Now they are playing catch-up, and our seats will not arrive until late fall or early winter. We will have the building completely finished, and they will be the last things to go in. But that means the earliest the center can host a performance will be January 2021.”
Meanwhile, chairs for the art center’s smaller, “black box” theater are being made in the United Kingdom and have not been delayed. Materials going into the new facility are coming from four countries, with Canada and the United States joining the list with Colombia and the U.K.
Jacobsen Construction officials shared that information and more during a series of several Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center tours during the second annual Taylorsville Summer Summit. City Council Chairwoman Meredith Harker was among those who donned a hard- hat and fluorescent construction vest to walk through the state-of-the-art facility.
“It was a cool and unique opportunity to visit the arts center, and I brought my husband along as well,” Harker said. “The tour guides showed us each room and all of the inner workings. It gave me a newfound respect for planners and engineers who have to think of so many things ahead of time. I think I was most impressed by all the versatility the building provides. Besides plays and musical performances, the center can also host wedding receptions or business events, lots of things.”
This second annual Taylorsville Summer Summit was much different from the one a year ago, pre-virus, when there was lots of hand-shaking and hugging at the Regal Crossroads & RPX Theater in Taylorsville. But city officials did once again provide food, this time from a Cupbop food truck parked outside the arts center. Now a multimillion-dollar international food chain, Cupbop got its start in Taylorsville.
“We accommodated seven tours through the arts center, a total of 90 to 100 people,” Carley said. “Mostly, I heard a lot of ‘wows’ from the visitors. Members of the community were deeply impressed. It was a great way to highlight our workmanship. I was excited to show it off.”
Finally, as for the bare open land west of the new Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center, Harker said work to install amenities and a football field’s worth of open lawn will also begin soon.
“The bidding process [was] still going on for improvements on the property next to the arts center (at our press deadline), but the work will begin soon,” Harker said. “Half of the [$3 million] funding for the project is coming from the county. Because of the coronavirus, they had to make a lot of cuts on projects like this. But we count ourselves very lucky because our funding was not cut. Hopefully, whoever we hire to do that work will be able to get it done on time.”