Performing arts center construction passes midway point; still on time, under budget
Jan 29, 2020 01:56PM
● By Carl Fauver
Our mostly mild winter has allowed arts center construction crews to remain on schedule. (Carl Fauver/Valley Journals)
By Carl Fauver | [email protected]
The $39 million Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center, southeast of Taylorsville City Hall, continues to take shape this winter. Crews barreled past the midway point on the construction project, still aiming to have the work substantially completed by early October, with the first shows in the new facility before the end of the year.
“Following the ceremonial ground breaking in December 2018, actual construction began a month later, on Jan. 21, 2019,” said Jacobsen Construction Project Executive Jim Cavey. “We placed our highest block on the project almost exactly a year later. People passing by (driving on 5400 South) will see even more significant changes to the appearance this spring.”
A wetter-than-normal spring a year ago has given way to a more temperate winter the past couple of months, allowing crews to remain on schedule and under budget.
“We’ve been averaging about 70 workers per day at the site,” said Jacobsen’s Project Engineer Burke Peterson. “It has been a good, safe worksite with no significant injuries.”
The new 67,500-square-foot MVPAC will be a Salt Lake County facility, managed by its Arts & Culture Division. Associate Division Director for Theatre Operations Jeff Gwilliam is actively monitoring the work and was on hand for a recent construction staff meeting and media update.
“Jacobsen has done an excellent job remaining on schedule, and we are still confident they will reach substantial completion by the first week in October,” Gwilliam said. “However, after that, we aren’t sure how long it will take to install all of the additional equipment into the building (lighting, sound systems, etc.) and to test them. All of the cogs are moving, but I can’t give you a hard date on when the first shows will be performed here.”
The Taylorsville Arts Council has made it clear they would like a weeklong run of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” performed by their volunteer actors, singers and dancers, to be the inaugural show in the shiny, new MVPAC. But Gwilliam said the local group has not yet been promised that slot.
“We have not seen their formal, written requests for those dates,” he said. “But I know the (Taylorsville) Arts Council has been talking with our events management team. I’m sure they are working together on that now.”
County officials are also considering naming rights for the MVPAC, though there is no progress to report on that front.
“Facility naming rights are handled through the county mayor’s office,” Gwilliam said. “I know [Salt Lake County Community Services] Director Holly Yocom has been discussing that. But, so far, I have not heard anything official about it.”
County officials are still standing by their decision not to include an outside electronic sign between the MVPAC and 5400 South, which could be used to advertise facility events.
“Taylorsville is in charge of landscaping around the new arts center, and I know they were talking about putting trees out there,” Gwilliam said. “A sign might not be practical there, with cars going by at 45 miles per hour. If the city wanted to put up a sign, they would have to work with UDOT to get permission.”
The MVPAC will include a 440-seat main theater and a more intimate 225-seat theater, along with rehearsal and event space.
“This is an average size project for Jacobsen; it’s our bread and butter that we do day in and day out,” Cavey said. “However, it is also awesome and unique. We know this project will have a big impact on this entire side of the valley. That is what makes the project neat for us.”
Jacobsen officials are determined to make sure all of their subcontractors also understand the significance of this project. As new workers come, the construction company provides them with an information card that is expected to be taken to heart.
“Your work on the MVPAC will be making life better for the Salt Lake County community by providing much-needed rehearsal and performance space,” is how the information on the card begins. Then it continues, “Your work will provide countless opportunities for generations of … performers. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to build a signature project.”
After two years of design work and another 13 months of construction, the Taylorsville Arts Council is still champing at the bit to perform its first show in the Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center, or whatever it may be called by the time the ribbon is cut.