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.”

Click here to view the full article.

01 Jul

Utah Leaders Visit New Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts

Cedar City— In a private tour on Thursday, Gov. Gary Herbert gave his seal of approval to the new Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts. Joining Gov. Herbert were State Sen. Evan Vickers, Rep. John Westwood, Rep. Don Ipson and Board of Regents Member Nina Barnes.

State officials were impressed with the $38 million complex, and are eager to celebrate with the Southern Utah community during the formal opening dedication to be held on July 7 at 10 a.m. Gov. Herbert was moved by the vast amount of donors who gave to the project.

“This complex stands as a testament to the value of public-private partnerships,” Gov. Herbert said. “The project itself is an impressive accomplishment. Although the center was built as a 50-year project, anyone who visits will recognize that both the buildings and their influence will last much longer.”

The six-acre complex houses the Southern Utah Museum of Art, the new Engelstad Shakespeare Theater, the Randall L. Jones Theater, and various offices and education areas. The architecture mixes modern and classic styles. Donor names can be seen engraved on the donor walls located throughout the center.

The Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts will incorporate visual arts, live theater and dynamic arts education experiences on the Southern Utah University campus in Cedar City, Utah, and aims to further enrich the cultural life of the region.

To view full article, click here.

To view a related article in the Salt Lake Tribune, click here.

08 Jun

Big-D Construction Completes BYU-Idaho Central Energy Facility Project

Big-D Construction recently reached completion on the BYU-Idaho Central Energy Facility located in Rexburg, Idaho.

The new 28,000-square-foot building, on which construction began in 2013, has allowed BYU-Idaho to replace its coal-fired boilers with natural gas-fired boilers. The original heating plant, in operation since 1963, had reached the end of its usable life span. The new facility was built adjacent to what was the existing heating plant.

The existing plant remained in operation, without interruption, throughout construction of the new facility until the transition was complete. Once the new facility was fully operational, the existing heating plant was demolished and the administration wing of the new facility was built.

In addition to the natural gas-fired boilers, the facility also utilizes cogeneration, also known as combined heat and power (CHP), by using a 5 megawatt natural gas-fired combustion turbine to produce electricity. The waste combustion heat is captured by a heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) that in turn produces steam for the campus, resulting in a more energy efficient means of generating electricity and heat for the campus.

“The new Central Energy Facility was designed and built to support the university for the next 50 years. Through competent design consultants and a great contractor, we will be able to support the future energy needs of BYU-Idaho and its students with this new facility for many years to come,” said BYU-I Managing Director of University Operations Wayne Clark.

To see more information on the project, click here.

02 Jun

Construction Begins on New $43 Million Trades Building for SLCC

SALT LAKE CITY — Looking back, Erika Ann Searle sees several reasons why beginning a welding career at Salt Lake Community College was the right choice.

Part of it stems from an engaged classroom experience.

“You get a lot of hands-on time,” Searle said.

It’s also about ambition, yearning for something that offers a challenge and fulfillment.

“It’s not really a field that a lot of girls are in,” she said.

This fall, Searle will complete an associate of applied science degree at the college’s welding program. Next year, she plans to transfer to Weber State University to pursue a four-year welding engineering degree with the hope of becoming a certified welding inspector.

It’s one of many technical fields that have evolved significantly in the past generation with the infusion of computer technology and other advancements. And that poses a challenge for higher education institutions, such as SLCC, in keeping pace with industry.

But SLCC is on the verge of what its leaders hope is a leap forward for students and the institution.

Construction is set to begin this week on a new facility to house more than a dozen of the college’s career and technical education programs. SLCC’s Westpointe Center, 2150 W. Dautless Ave., will provide 121,000 square feet of workspace for programs such as advanced composites, welding fabrication and inspection, solar energy, nondestructive testing, machining, diesel mechanics, and commercial driver licensing.

Many of those programs are currently housed in different SLCC campuses across the Salt Lake Valley. Putting them under one roof will provide a dedicated hub for instructors, administrators and industry partners. It will also facilitate a cross-pollination of skills and resources for students, according to Rick Bouillon, dean of SLCC’s School of Technical Specialties.

“It will better serve our students because it will give them access to the latest and the highest level of technology in an environment that’s conducive to that type of training,” Bouillon said. “They need to understand other aspects of technology in order to better understand the main discipline they’re in.”

College leaders are scheduled to participate in a ceremonial groundbreaking Wednesday.

While Searle won’t be around to see the doors open in fall of 2018, she said it’s an upgrade from the current facilities that students will appreciate.

“There are some times when it can get a little crowded with all the different classes in there, especially when we’ve got to use certain machines,” she said. “If they get more machines and a bigger facility, that would be helpful.”

The new building will include 34 labs, eight classrooms, a 3-acre diesel truck driving range and new lab equipment. The project is largely funded from a $42.6 million appropriation from the state Legislature this year. Lawmakers also provided $3 million last year for pre-construction and design.

SLCC currently offers 106 credit certificate programs, 32 degree programs and 29 noncredit certificate programs, producing more than 27 percent of Utah’s career and technical education graduates.

Demand for those trades is also on the rise, especially as the baby boom generation enters retirement, leaving vacancies in high-skill jobs in Utah and other places, Bouillon said.

In 2014, the northern half of the state saw almost 5,800 job openings in aeronautics, composites, diesel tech, electronics, welding, drivers and material testing.

“Our industry partners and our program advisory committees, they’re clamoring for more qualified technicians in all of these areas to enter the workforce and join their teams,” he said.

SLCC’s student enrollment has steadily declined from a peak of 33,983 students in 2010 to 28,814 last year, a trend attributed largely to improving economic conditions in the state and the change in age requirements for missionaries of the LDS Church. But college leaders hope the new facility will draw new interest from prospective students.

“Having these programs co-located with the highest level of technology available will allow us to be better in recruiting those younger students and introducing them into a career that maybe they hadn’t thought about previously,” Bouillon said.

13305186_1182165645162274_1345913963943297886_o 13305210_1182165635162275_3731098237972687746_o DSC_1822 DSC_1833 16.02.04 Westpointe SW-PM

To view full article in the Deseret News, click here.

26 May

Historic Salt Lake City Hall to Undergo Major Face-lift

Salt Lake City Hall is scheduled for a major three-year overhaul.

Crews with Big-D Construction will begin work June 6 on the castlelike building in the heart of downtown to restore portions of its sandstone facade, repair windows and strengthen earthquake protections, according to an announcement Wednesday by Mayor Jackie Biskupski’s office.

“These key projects are essential to maintaining the building to a level that is consistent with its historic significance and to allow for continued use as Salt Lake’s City center of government well into the future,” the mayor said in the statement.

Salt Lake City Hall is scheduled for a major three-year overhaul.

Crews with Big-D Construction will begin work June 6 on the castlelike building in the heart of downtown to restore portions of its sandstone facade, repair windows and strengthen earthquake protections, according to an announcement Wednesday by Mayor Jackie Biskupski’s office.

“These key projects are essential to maintaining the building to a level that is consistent with its historic significance and to allow for continued use as Salt Lake’s City center of government well into the future,” the mayor said in the statement.

Biskupski’s office said the first phase will involve stone restoration on the tower. Seismic work also starts this summer and is expected to run through spring 2017. Lower floors of the building, meanwhile, will see work from mid-2017 to 2018.

Though soon to be wrapped in scaffolding, the Romanesque Revival-style structure will remain open to the public and continue to serve as City Hall during the renovation work, the mayor’s staff said.

To view full article in the Salt Lake Tribune, click here.