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South Salt Lake Journal

Forthcoming report to shed light on next decade of city buildings

Feb 10, 2021 02:22PM ● By Bill Hardesty

With the county library moving out, a fourth of the building has opened up at the Columbus Center. The city is soliciting ideas. (Bill Hardesty/City Journals)

By Bill Hardesty | [email protected]

At the Jan. 13 South Salt Lake City Council work meeting, Sharen Hauri, Urban Design director, and Lindsey Ferrari, a consultant for the city in public relations representing her own company, Wilkenson Ferrari & Co., presented a preliminary Community Facilities Plan.

"The goal of this project is to look at how we are using our buildings now and in the next 10 years," Hauri said.

While the final report is not finished, they wanted to give an overview of the process, findings and spark some thought for the future.


They looked at all 11 city facilities. Ferrari noted that all of the key services, such as fire stations, the animal shelter and Public Works, are west of State Street. In contrast, the amenity services, such as cultural or athletic facilities, are east of State Street.

The team started with the information they already had. The team looked at the building's square footage, the site's square footage, the number of parking stalls, the year it was built and remodeled, and the facility's condition. The total is 250,836 square feet in building space and 26.9 acres of site footage. The oldest building is the Historic Scott School Community Center, built in 1890 with two remodels. The youngest building is Fire Station 42, built in 2008. It is important to note the Public Works building was built in 1938 and was last renovated in 1970.

Ferrari and her staff met with employees at the facilities. The result was a fact sheet for each facility, including a needs assessment. Based on the information, they identified both major and minor projects for each facility.

Major themes

Based on all the data collected, Ferrari identified seven significant themes across all the facilities.

  • Security and Safety
  • Employee Morale and accommodating the growing number of employees
  • High-quality IT
  • Storage
  • Shifts to a "New Normal" in office and meeting space demands
  • Deferred Maintenance
  • Character and Image
  • Cross-Disciplinary spaces (spaces where two or more departments are housed together to create synergy)

"Employees of South Salt Lake are surprisingly resilient and happy because there are some buildings that are in dire need of improvement," Ferrari said. "It was amazing how often we heard things like ‘we will make it work’ and ‘we will get by.’"

Ferrari presented a list of major and minor projects across all facilities. The No. 1 on the list is a new Public Works facility, which has been the case for a few years. Other significant projects are remodeling the Columbus Center, a new gymnasium/recreation center, remodel or build a new City Hall, and build an off-site storage facility.

There were nine minor or "low-hanging fruit" projects listed too.

Two scenarios

A new Public Works facility plan was quickly reviewed because the council is aware of the plan.

They also provided two scenarios about building a civic center. Hauri explained that bringing services like police and courts together would help others see a civic center. 

Scenario one is building a civic center where City Hall is now. The civic center would include additional buildings and changing the exterior of City Hall to look like a city hall and not an office building.

The second scenario is to relocate City Hall and other civic buildings like the public safety building and a recreation center on land between State and Main streets and south of the S Line. There would also be additional office buildings.

Columbus Center

The Columbus Center is the most pressing need. With the Columbus Library branch closing in March and still not open, the City Council canceled the library's lease late last year. This action allowed the library to move in anticipation of opening the Granite Library branch.

This will result in opening up roughly 8,000 square feet, which is a fourth of the building.

"The city has many great partners who collaborate with us and offer programs in our community centers. We can offer a wide variety of programs to different ages, interests, incomes, and so on with their support," Hauri said. "The Columbus Center could expand its offerings for seniors and youth through Promise SSL, and we also hope some partners take this opportunity to grow, too. We are exploring options based on what our community has asked for. Requests include a fitness room, computer and internet access, daycare, and support in their personal lives, including financial empowerment, job seeking, and small businesses. We are looking for your ideas and wishes, and of course, volunteers who want to help make things happen.”

Residents are asked to provide ideas and thoughts at the website. They also can email Sharen Hauri ([email protected]) or Aaron Wiet, recreation director, at [email protected]. Residents can also contact the mayor or their respective council member.