By Councilman Scott Bracken
For the last few months, I’ve made it a weekly practice to visit the new city hall construction site to observe the progress being made and to learn in detail all that goes into a construction project of this size. It’s been very interesting to see how things change, and how my perception of things changes as I’ve watched the construction progress.
As you read this, all the masonry work on the building will be essentially complete, the roof deck on the police side of the building (along 2300 East) will be in place and a good portion of the steel for the central areas (council chambers, multi-purpose/public room, lobby area) and the administration side (along Bengal Blvd.) will soon be completed. Of course, this is always dependent upon the weather. Once steel is in place, the roof and roof deck can be installed, which will help move things along. At the very least, I won’t have to drive down Bengal Boulevard and see a worker clearing out our city manager’s office space with a snow blower!
It has surprised me to go back and see how my perception of the size of a space changes as construction progresses. I will admit that when I first went to the site and looked at the footings and rough layout of the rooms, I was surprised that everything looked so small. Now that I’ve been inside the walls of the police wing, that same space now looks much larger – and big enough to house the functions that are required. I’m told that this is a common perception with laypeople such as myself.
As I catch the end of the weekly coordination meetings with our staff, the contractor, and the architects, it’s gratifying to know how much work each is putting into the project. There is an extreme amount of detail on a project this size and coordination between city staff, the architect, and the contractors is critical. I also realize the vision of what it can be, while ensuring that cost-saving opportunities are not lost and all necessary steps in the construction process are followed to specification.
I look forward to getting the project complete (we’re planning on a September completion) and having the new space. I’m particularly excited to see the multi-purpose/lobby areas, which will be open and available to the citizens of our city. Having a location for local groups to meet or hold events is something Cottonwood Heights needs. Adjacent to the multi-purpose area is a catering kitchen. I expect that school groups, teams, volunteer groups, and possibly wedding parties will find many good uses for the space. The location is central to the city, and the views are amazing.
The space is also large enough to accommodate public meetings that generate a lot of community interest, as well as host other intergovernmental groups or associations in our city. Our desire for the space is that it will be utilized well by city staff and the public.
I look forward to having a roof overhead for those working on the site – that will help them keep dry at least, and possibly a little warmer. The next few weeks’ work will really have the shape and feel of the exterior building come into its own. As the exterior stonework gets completed and the windows get installed, we will all get a better feel for what the building will become. As spring and summer pass, the other exterior features will be completed, including the plaza area on the corner of Bengal Boulevard and 2300 East. This will be a nice, accessible area right along two main corridors of the city. Bengal Boulevard will become even more of a public services corridor as Brighton, (the new) Butler Middle School, the Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center, Butler Park, Guthrie skate park, and Canyon View Elementary are complimented by the new municipal center.
As a city organization, we have tried from the very beginning to capitalize on the synergy between various governmental entities serving our citizens that residents have come to expect. The continued cooperation between city leaders, school leaders/faculty/students, Cottonwood Height Parks and Recreation service area, Salt Lake County and others has yielded one of the most sought after locations for people to live. We think you will love our city’s new gathering place.