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Progress continues on Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center design

Nov 03, 2017 03:38PM ● Published by Carl Fauver

Taylorsville and Salt Lake County officials toured this Tempe Center for the Arts to get ideas. (Google.com)

Gallery: Arts Center [5 Images] Click any image to expand.

As you drive past Taylorsville City Hall (2600 West 5400 South), you’ll see one lonely sign, in the vast ocean of grass directly southeast of the city building.

Eleven months after Taylorsville and Salt Lake County officials announced the coming of a new $39 million Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center, the sign is still all that can be seen.

But officials promise much has been going on behind the scenes. 

“We’ve been working to get a broad perspective of many different arts centers, in order to better know what features we want included in ours,” said City Councilwoman Kristie Overson, one of several Taylorsville City and Salt Lake County officials who have been meeting almost weekly to discuss the project.

As part of their fact-finding effort, the group toured Salt Lake’s Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center. The following week, several of them flew down and back to Phoenix, Arizona, in a single day, to tour a couple of venues there.

“About 14 of us went, four representing Taylorsville City,” said Mayor Larry Johnson. “The trip was very beneficial because we got to see some ‘top end’ things and some lower priced features. It helped us get a better feel for what we want our facility to look like.”

Joining Johnson and Overson — representing Taylorsville on the Arizona trek — were Community Development Director Mark McGrath and Arts Council Chairman Gordon Wolf. The Utah group visited the Tempe Center for the Arts and the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts.

“The Tempe facility is about 20 percent larger than the Peoria center and more upscale,” McGrath said. “The Peoria facility seemed to be more functional and community-based. I think most of us left (Arizona) thinking we’d like to see a mixture of the two (in the Taylorsville center).”

The Utah delegation was guided on detailed, behind-the-scenes tours at both sites. Besides holding art performances, the Phoenix-area centers host weddings, corporate events and many other activities — something McGrath said they hope to duplicate here.

“Our goal is to make this building as active as it can possibly be,” McGrath added. “We want it to be busy as many nights as possible, sometimes hosting multiple activities simultaneously.”

Not long after the Arizona trip, city and county leaders announced the MVPAC design team. Salt Lake-based architecture firm Method Studio was hired, along with a company called The Shalleck Collaborative, a theater design firm based in the San Francisco area.

“We are pleased to have Method Studio and The Shalleck Collaborative as our design team,” said Sarah Pearce, Salt Lake County’s Center for the Arts Division Director. “Both organizations have a deep understanding and appreciation of the important role the arts play in our state and a breadth of experience in designing cultural projects.”

Method Studio and its team members have designed facilities at Utah Valley, Dixie and Utah State universities.“We are pleased to be part of the MVPAC design team and consider it a great privilege,” said Method Studio Founding Partner Joe Smith.

Since 2003, The Shalleck Collaborative has worked on more than two dozen cultural facilities, similar to what the MVPAC is expected to be.

“We are delighted to be working with such a talented and committed team from the county, the city and Method Studio,” said Adam Shalleck, founding principal of the company.

Not long after the design team was announced, site options were unveiled at a Taylorsville City Council meeting. Council members and residents reviewed three different drawings of ways the new arts center might be oriented on the property. Specific designs for the structure itself have not yet been made public. 

The MVPAC project remains on schedule, with groundbreaking scheduled next summer and a grand opening two years later.

The Mid-Valley Performing Arts Center is expected to feature a main performance venue seating about 400 patrons, along with a small space that can range in seating from 50 to 250, depending on the event. The entire facility is expected to be about 70,000 square feet, also including dressing rooms and rehearsal space.

Through the winter, MVPAC designers are expected to meet with various groups —including the Taylorsville Arts Council — to learn what amenities they would like the building to include.

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