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South Salt Lake Journal

New Granite Library plans groundbreaking in spring

Jan 27, 2020 11:36AM ● By Bill Hardesty

Updated Granite Library rendering. (Courtesy South Salt Lake City)

By Bill Hardesty | [email protected]

The new Salt Lake County Granite Library has completed its last step before issuing building permits with the Design Review approval by the Planning Commission on Dec. 5, 2019. The approval includes 18 conditions with nine sub conditions.

"This is really exciting for the city," Commission Chair Laura Vernon said.

Alex White, Community Development Director, explained the property is still owned by the Granite School District. They are still working on the sell contract with Wasatch Group. Once that is complete, Wasatch Group will sell the a section of the property along the west side, about five acres, to the county.

"We have been working on this project for over a year, and we hit some bumps along the way. I say that only to say that over the last four or five months working with the city, especially Alex and her staff things have been going very well," Rob Beishline, an architect from Method Studio, commented.

The design is like earlier plans but with a few tweaks.

500 East ash trees

After five arborist studies, the architects believe that most of the ash trees along 500 East can be rehabilitated and remain. There are 11 trees along the property and two will need to be removed. Tree 1 is at the intersection and tree 11 is at the end of the property. Tree 1 needs to be removed because of sight view from the corner and tree 11 needs to be removed because of the entrance into the library.

The remaining trees need to be pruned and fertilized and watered. The architect is requiring contractors to protect the trees during construction.

The five trees along 3300 South are a different story. Since they are of different species and no obvious intent in design, the planning commission voted to remove them. The other choice is to have the sidewalk meander around the trees which is problematic. This also will allow the Mill Creek trail along 3300 South to be straight.

Trees are planned throughout the property, including a grove of flowering crab apple trees. This a nod to having an orchard like a farmer, the old Granite High School mascot.

Tribute to GHS

"I wasn't a Granite farmer, but we have been very sensitive with this site," Beishline said.

Inside and out, the architects have played homage to the old Granite High School.

Inside, the GHS seal was moved from being on the ground to a wall. Making sure no one walks on the seal, which is a GHS tradition.

Old photographs will be used as wall coverings.

On the exterior, the walls will be red matching the red brick of GHS. The granite rock will be located by the main entrance and building will have a gateway look toward the intersection of 3300 South and 500 East.


This site is a unique place for a Salt Lake County library because of 2.74 acres of open space around the library, which is 56% of the property.

Outdoor, there will be a fitness trail circling the property. On the site there will be a plaza, public art, a great lawn running from the intersection to the main entrance, an amphitheater, a playground and a dedicated gathering place (think food trucks).

Inside is a large child section including space for active play, story time and media collections. For teens, there will be places for study, play and socializing. There will be technology and create spaces, too, along with meeting rooms and social areas.


The concept of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) was a key focus throughout the design. The design was reviewed by four city departments: SSL Police, Urban Design, Engineering, and Community Development to make sure CPTED principles were followed.

For example, all exterior plugs will be on a timer and only have power during library or event times. The library’s Wi-Fi will only work during library hours. All flat blank walls will have an anti-graffiti finish, including the waste container enclosure. Shrubs will be trimmed at a low levels and tree branches will be trimmed at least 6 feet above the ground. All exterior furniture like benches will be designed to prevent using them as a sleeping surface.

All this and other items are done to make the library and the grounds safe. It also will allow police to see the property from the street.

"I am super impressed with the gateway concept coming off the 3300 South and 500 East intersection and the CPTED work and the attention given to the trees," Vernon said.