26 Aug

University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law Awarded Prestigious LEED Platinum Designation

Newswise — The University of Utah on Aug. 31 will mark the one-year anniversary of the opening of its state-of-the art law school by announcing the facility has been awarded a prestigious LEED platinum designation by the by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

LEED is an acronym that stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The designation is awarded to buildings that meet standards of being green and efficient in their design.  LEED-certified spaces use fewer energy and water resources; save money for taxpayers, businesses and other building owners; reduce carbon emissions; create jobs; and establish a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community. The U’s law school is the first in the western United States designed to earn such a designation and is believed to be only the second law school in the country to achieve the status.

A celebration is planned at the law school on Aug.31 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., where speakers will discuss how the LEED platinum facility has benefited the university community. Building tours will follow brief remarks from university leaders.

The law school’s LEED designation adds to an already impressive list of LEED facilities in Utah, a state that earlier this year ranked among the top 10 U.S. states for LEED-building per capita. The law school joins 40 other LEED facilities in Utah certified to LEED platinum status. The law school, however, is the highest achieving LEED platinum higher education project in the state based on the number of points award.

“We are delighted to observe the one-year anniversary in our newly-designated LEED platinum law school. Beyond setting an example of sustainable building for our community and serving as a gateway to our greater University of Utah campus, we are proud of all we’ve accomplished inside these walls so far,” said S.J. Quinney College of Law Dean Robert Adler. “From clinical programs to experiential learning opportunities to collaborative research initiatives, we have matched the innovation we modeled in our building with innovation in legal education, which allows us to set the bar high for a continued path of student success.”

The law school built its LEED platinum building with assistance from the Alternative Visions Fund of the Chicago Community Trust, which provided $4.5 million towards the purchase of sustainable building infrastructure. Many of the law school’s sustainability features serve as examples to other building projects on the campus of the University of Utah, the Salt Lake community, and the nation, and some are models of innovation For example, building windows employ biomimickry to prevent bird collisions. Biomimickry creates ultraviolet spider web designs that are visible to birds but not humans.

Notable features that contributed to the building’s LEED platinum status include:
◆ A building designed with the goal of achieving 65 percent reduction in energy costs beyond code requirements through smart structural design and passive solar orientation.
◆ Investments in onsite solar power generation and maximum use of natural light.
◆ Chilled beam cooling and heating systems and highly efficient fixtures.
◆ Recycling and re-using grey water to flush toilets.

The building also incorporates passive energy strategies that reduce overall energy consumption through:
◆ Enhanced exterior insulation to reduce thermal conductivity.
◆ Fixed exterior sunshades to minimize solar heat gain during the summer.
◆ Exterior overhangs that also act as sunshades to reduce the building heat gain in the summer.
◆ Low emissivity, insulating glass to reduce thermal transmittance and glare while improving visible light transmittance.

In addition, the building achieves energy savings through the integration of more efficient energy-using systems including:
◆ The chilled beam HVAC system to heat and cool the building, radiant floor heating and cooling to supplement the chilled beam system.
◆ A heat recovery system to transfer the heat from the exhausted conditioned air into the fresh ventilation air.
◆ Regenerative elevators to convert the excess energy generated by an elevator into electricity that can be used elsewhere in the building.
◆ Enhanced lighting system control that include occupancy sensors and daylight sensors.

A complete list of the building features used to evaluate its LEED platinum status is available by clicking here. Evaluators examine a checklist of items and award points to a building for its various sustainable features. The law school received a score of 87 points by LEED evaluators. At least 80 points are necessary for LEED Platinum certification.

Prior to the LEED platinum designation, the building garnered other awards for its innovative features. Lead architect Sean Thompson of the VCBO/Smith Group architecture received a “community justice award” from the Disability Law Center for the building’s universal accessibility design. Energy engineer Steve Connor of Coleman Engineering was also a finalist for the governor’s energy innovation award for designing the building’s unique use of groundwater to help air condition the facility by using groundwater from a campus well. The building itself received the Most Outstanding Green/Sustainable Building Award for 2015 from Utah Construction and Design, and the 2016 Alta Sustainability Leadership Award for Sustainable Campus Transformation, as well as recognitions from the Virginia and Maryland chapters of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). And Big-D Construction Corporation earned the 2015 Green Building Champion of the Year Award from the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc.

“This is truly an impressive accomplishment. We expect LEED silver certification for all new buildings on campus given the University requirements for energy efficiency, water conservation, occupant health and safety, and sustainable materials. Fewer than 5 percent of LEED projects undertaken anywhere, however, achieve Platinum status. Why? Because it is not enough to have a great architect, which we were also fortunate to have in VCBO/Smith Group,” said Amy Wildermuth, the U’s chief sustainability officer.

“In order to attain this level of success, the S.J. Quinney College of Law had to be fully engaged in the building process from pre-planning to completion. We are very grateful to the faculty, staff, students, administration—and particularly Dean Bob Adler—for their efforts to accomplish this amazing level of performance and for serving as a model,” Wildermuth said.

Besides its environmental merits, the new building has aided the college’s already substantial commitment to community service and community-engaged learning. University of Utah law students provided more than 40,000 hours of pro bono and clinical service to underserved clients last year.

The $62.5 million building provides accessibility for people with a full range of disabilities. Located at the southwest corner of campus across from the Stadium TRAX station, the building established a welcoming gateway for visitors to campus when it opened last year.

“Alumni, students, and the community are thrilled that our beautiful new building earned LEED platinum status. We are proud of the sustainability efforts put into its LEED design,” said Michele Ballantyne, president of the S.J. Quinney College of Law Alumni Board of Trustees. “The building has provided, and will continue to provide, an atmosphere where students can thrive and the college’s programs can continue to advance nationally.”

The building has received ongoing generous support from the S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney Foundation, the University of Utah, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Alternative Visions Fund of the Chicago Community Trust as well as a number of law firms and individual donors. Big-D Construction completed work on the 155,000-square-foot building.


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10 Aug

New State Crime Lab Designed to Make Processing Evidence More Efficient

It’s a phrase often heard when police detectives talk about their investigations: “We’re waiting on results from the State Crime Lab.”

Jay Henry, the State Crime Lab’s director, says that’s about to change with the completion of Utah’s new $41 million, 90,000-square-foot facility this winter.

“The faster they can get results for their criminal investigations, the quicker and better they can resolve their cases,” Henry said. “Their turnaround time for their evidence will be quicker, faster and more efficient.”

The new Utah State Crime Lab is currently under construction at 4431 S. 2700 West, next to the Cal Rampton Building where the Department of Public Safety and the current crime lab is headquartered. The new facility will replace the current facility, which was built in 1980.

Right now, the Utah State Crime Lab has different specialties spread across northern Utah. The ballistics testing area, for example, is currently done in Ogden.

Once the new facility is completed, all disciplines of the State Crime Lab will be moved back under one roof. In addition, the Utah State Medical Examiner’s Office and the Department of Agriculture will share lab space in the same building.

The result, Henry said, will be more efficient and quicker testing of evidence.

“What this facility does, it increases our capacity and makes us more efficient, and it allows for a safer environment for employees to work,” he said. “It also consolidates our firearms laboratory from the northern part of the state back to the central lab. It provides us with some crime scene processing bays and trace evidence rooms. And we do it in a combined facility.”

Henry said he expects employees to start moving into the new facility by December or January and for the building to be fully up and running by next spring.

On Tuesday, in conjunction with National Forensic Science Week, Henry gave the media a first look at the facility.

“This kind of represents the future of forensic science in Utah. This is just kind of a glimpse,” he said.

Each room of the new crime lab is being built for a specific purpose. For example, one area will be exclusively for chemistry, another will be dedicated to robotics DNA testing, another to trace sampling, and so on.

“We’re to the point that we’ve outgrown our structure we’re in, and most laboratories weren’t purpose-built. They were office buildings that were kind of made into laboratories,” Henry said.

The new State Crime Lab is being constructed for that purpose, he said, with “adequate ventilation and adequate gas lines, electrical (and) DNA networking services.”

“Plus, there’s extra capacity here so there’s room in the future to grow,” Henry said.

During Tuesday’s tour, Henry showed off the area where robotics DNA will take place, noting that once that’s up in running, the State Crime Lab will be able to test DNA samples faster and with less room for error. There will also be more “hands-off” applications, he said.

“Technology is allowing us to do more with less. So now you have robotic systems that actually handle the specimen, add the chemical (and) extract the DNA,” Henry said.

The State Crime Lab is in the process of hiring an additional five DNA analysts, he said.

DNA and ballistics testing will benefit the most from the new building, Henry said. The state also plans to bring back the ballistics database with the new facility, something it stopped doing about five years ago. The new ballistics range will be able to test up to .50-caliber rounds.

The extra space will also help lab technicians process the backlog of state rape kits more efficiently. As of Tuesday, Henry said the lab was about one-third of the way through the state’s backlog of 2,700 kits.

Rooms dedicated to trace evidence, such as hair fibers, blood and paint, as well as a secure, contamination-free, two-bay garage large enough to hold RVs, will be new additions that the current crime lab doesn’t have.

The chemistry area, already one of the most efficient in the nation, will be made safer with an advanced ventilation system. Henry said lab technicians are sometimes asked to work with hazardous materials.

But one of the biggest advantages of the new building and putting all 45 employees under one roof will be the improved continuity of the process, he said.

“When you have a purpose-built facility and … you’re operating at maximum efficiency with extra capacity and technology, you’re going to see better turnaround times for evidence in court,” Henry said.

To view the full KSL article, click here.

01 Aug

Big-D Construction Certified as a Great Place to Work

SALT LAKE CITY – AUGUST 1, 2016 — Big-D Construction  was certified as a great workplace today by the independent analysts at Great Place to Work®. Big-D earned this credential based on extensive ratings provided by its employees in anonymous surveys. A summary of these ratings can be found at http://reviews.greatplacetowork.com/big-d-corporation.

“It is our outstanding people who deliver on our promises and create an environment for outstanding careers! We are grateful for the recognition,” said Jack Livingood, CEO of Big-D.

“We applaud Big-D Corporation for seeking certification and releasing its employees’ feedback,” said Kim Peters, Vice President of Great Place to Work’s Recognition Program. “These ratings measure its capacity to earn its own employees’ trust and create a great workplace – critical metrics that anyone considering working for or doing business with Big-D Corporation should take into account as an indicator of high performance.”

“According to our study, 91 percent of Big-D employees say it is a great workplace,” says Sarah Lewis-Kulin, Great Place to Work’s Senior Editor.

Big-D employees completed 306 surveys, resulting in a 90 percent confidence level and a margin of error of ± 3.64.


About Great Place to Work®

Great Place to Work® is the global authority on high-trust, high-performance workplace cultures. Through proprietary assessment tools, advisory services, and certification programs, including Best Workplaces lists and workplace reviews, Great Place to Work® provides the benchmarks, framework, and expertise needed to create, sustain, and recognize outstanding workplace cultures. In the United States, Great Place to Work® produces the annual Fortune “100 Best Companies to Work For®” list and a series of Great Place to Work® Best Workplaces lists including lists for Millennials, Women, Diversity, Small and Medium Companies and over a half dozen different industry lists.

Follow Great Place to Work online at www.greatplacetowork.com and on Twitter at @GPTW_US.

28 Jul

Big-D Completes First of 18 Victory Ranch Cabins

Big-D Construction recently completed the first of 18 cabins at Victory Ranch in Kamas, Utah.

Rated by Robbs Report as one of the Top 10 resorts, this planned golfing and outdoor community includes two lodges, golf club, pools, golf course, and private access to Provo River for fly fishing, mountain bike trails, upland bird hunting, and sporting clays. With cabins averaging in size from 2,200 sf – 3,300 sf, Victory Ranch plans on adding additional cabins over the next few years.

Construction for Big-D began in August of 2015 and has reduced the average build time from 12 months to 9 months while maintaining the high quality standards expected of Victory Ranch and Big-D Signature. Construction has begun on the third lodge, with completion set for June 2017.

“Victory Ranch is truly building a unique property that combines the best of the outdoor experience in Utah with a high quality standard of living in an amazing location along the Provo River.  We look forward to bringing a combination of our large project capability with the high-end finishes of our Signature group,” said Mike Kerby, Vice President of Big-D’s Park City office.

For more information, visit http://victoryranchutah.com/


Big-D Signature Group is a division of Big-D Construction that focuses on the construction of high-end residential and resort projects.

11 Jul

Cedar City Turns Out to Applaud New Arts Center

By Ellen Fagg Weist  | The Salt Lake Tribune

Cedar City • To open the new Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre, Utah Shakespeare Festival founder Fred C. Adams held a lit candle — the same candle used to retire the Adams Memorial Theatre at the end of last season — then left it onstage for the actor opening “Henry V.”

Larry Bull, who plays the Chorus, raised the flame on Thursday night to illuminate the famous “O for a muse of fire” speech, opening the play with the same line offered at the end of “Henry IV, Part Two.”

“Welcome to our new home, our glorious new Engelstad Theatre, made possible through the generosity of so many of you,” said R. Scott Phillips, the festival’s executive director, before the production.

The history play about war and leadership opened the theater company’s 55th season, the first in its new digs on an arts complex that represents Adams’ longtime dream.

The 1970s-era Adams theater, across the street, has been returned to Southern Utah University, which will use it for educational programs, said President Scott L. Wyatt.

The festival’s opening unfolded at the end of a day of celebrations and ribbon-cuttings on SUU’s two-block Beverley Center for the Arts, which included flourishes such as a band of heralds, confetti streamers and a processional by a bagpipe band.

Earlier in the day, speeches by state and local officials — ranging from Gov. Gary L. Herbert to Cedar City Mayor Maile Wilson — underscored the transformative power of art while thanking donors for their collective efforts to build a world-class arts complex in an unlikely geographical location.

Herbert cited a scripture from Proverbs about how people falter without a vision. The new center represents how a dream, like that of festival co-founder Adams, inspires people to prosper, Herbert said.

During the ceremony, Adams received a standing ovation from a crowd that emcee Ken Verdoia, head of the Utah Arts Board, referred to as “a gathering of great friends.”

Just as fitting, before the ceremony Adams and Phillips could be seen exhibiting their hands-on philosophy as they set up additional chairs in overflow space behind the stage.

Herbert applauded the public-private partnerships that led to the completion of the $39.1 million, 8-acre arts complex, designed around the theater company’s 1989 Randall L. Jones Theatre.

A gold-ribbon cutting on Thursday marked the opening of the Southern Utah Museum of Art and the massive-looking, but intimate-feeling, outdoor Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre. (It’s like an inside-out TARDIS, theater company officials joked behind the scenes, referring to the “bigger on the inside” phone box that houses a time machine on the BBC’s “Doctor Who.”)

University and theater officials invited the entire town of Cedar City to the weekend’s opening ceremonies, and more than 700 turned out Thursday morning, filling chairs in the plazas outside the new Anes Studio Theater.

Later that morning, the local Scarlet & Black bagpipe band led celebrators to the plaza outside the new arts museum for a second ribbon-cutting. “Today feels like Christmas, and I’m so glad you’re all here to help unwrap this package,” said Donna Law, who led museum fundraising efforts and now heads SUU’s Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service.

Financially supporting the arts is an investment in the economy and entertainment, but also builds society, said Wyatt, underscoring the five pages of donor names printed in the event’s program.

The day felt especially historic for Wilson, a Cedar City native.

Stories about Adams’ vision for the theater company were woven into bedtime stories recounted by her mother, who danced in the first Greenshow as a child, and her grandmother, who choreographed early plays. “What this will mean to our community is beyond any of our wildest dreams,” Wilson said.

On Friday morning, town officials are scheduled to officially transform two blocks of College Avenue into Shakespeare Lane.

For Jack Livingood, CEO of Big-D Construction, the arts project provided plenty of drama, with an incredible setting, plot twists and conflict. “And antagonists — you know who you are — as well as heroes,” Livingood said, to laughter from the crowd.

“We’ve had heroic efforts, we’ve had ghosts haunting us at night, we’ve had a ‘Comedy of Errors,’ ” added Livingood, a longtime playgoer and former theater company board member. “We’ve had a battle or two where we couldn’t find our horse.”

Festival and SUU officials presented original artworks to members of the Sorenson family, whose foundation donated $6 million to the project in 2013.

Philanthropist Beverley Taylor Sorenson, who died later that year, was described as an “arts angel,” a fitting memorial, said daughter Ann Sorenson Crocker, former president of the Sorenson Legacy Foundation. When asked why she cared so much about financially supporting the arts, Beverley Sorenson always offered ready answers.

Learning to present a monologue teaches a child confidence, learning to play the piano teaches perseverance, rehearsing a play or opera teaches collaboration, while dancing teaches communication.

“She knew art changes the world,” Crocker said, recalling watching her mother, at age 80, dancing with students in an elementary arts program.

Her name is memorialized in the signs throughout the complex, which is now anchored by two major buildings that were designed to invite the public inside. “I love what this project has become,” said architect Kevin Blalock. “And now, the entire facility — The Beverley Center for the Arts — belongs to all of you. I leave it in your hands.”

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