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January 2015 – Community Forum Newsletter

Next Community Forum

Thursday, May 14, 2015 | 5 – 6:30 p.m.
A. Ray Olpin Student Union Building
200 S. Central Campus Drive
Union Den, First floor

The Union Building is served by UTA bus and free campus shuttle.
Parking validations will be available for those who park in the lot east of the Union Building.

We welcome your attendance, comments and participation in the discussion.


AGENDA of Next Forum

  • Intermountain Healthcare planning on campus
    Erin Donnelly, director of Strategic Planning and Business Development at Primary Children's Hospital, Intermountain Healthcare
  • Foothill transportation plan update
    Cris Jones, transportation planner for Salt Lake City
  • North Campus Connecting Element
    Liz Blackner, architectural project manager, University of Utah
    Heather Soderquist, project manager at Jacobsen Construction
  • Research Park stoplight and BioFire new development
    Jonathon Bates, director of Real Estate Administration, University of Utah


Recap of the Jan. 8, 2015 Community Forum

Jonathon Bates, director of Real Estate Administration

BioFire development

The university is finalizing agreements with BioFire for a new ground lease in Research Park. BioFire will consolidate from five locations in Research Park (BioFire owned three buildings and leased two spaces) to a new 250,000-square-foot development located near the IHC residential treatment center, which it will also acquire. BioFire is projected to grow from 500 employees to around 800 when the new facility would open in September 2016.

The university’s primary driver in this is a land exchange. The U is looking to acquire two of the BioFire buildings while ARUP, which is also currently located in Research Park, is looking to acquire the other building. A traffic study will be included in the design plans for this building, but the parking ratio will stay within the current park requirements. Additionally, on Oct. 9, 2014, Salt Lake City sent out a letter alerting residents in the area to the application for a conditional design and review for height variance and it was granted. Expected completion of this building is fall 2016.

SLC improvement – Wakara and Arapeen intersection

Salt Lake City has received approval and funding to move forward with improvements to the intersection of Wakara and Arapeen. The current plan involves the installation of a traffic signal at the intersection to improve safety and traffic flow through the area. The project is still in the design phase and construction is not projected to begin until this summer or fall.

As part of the Traffic and Transportation Master Plan, Research Park is looking at opportunities to plan for improvements to its overall mobility infrastructure in order to improve traffic flow, sidewalks, trail connectivity, bike routes, walkability, accessibility and more visible bus and shuttle stops.

Tim Harpst, senior traffic engineer, Horrocks Engineers

Horrocks Engineers is teaming up with transportation specialists from all over the country to help create a comprehensive Transportation Master Plan that will cover campus and Research Park. The community engagement portion, which closed Dec. 15, resulted with 977 individual comments from those on campus and in the surrounding communities. These comments give a better understanding of what improvements those who are on campus say are most needed.

Most of the comments, about 30 percent, involved pedestrian areas. Suggestions were made for safer crosswalks, more visible striping, signage, hawk signals, etc. There were requests for improved connectivity with sidewalks, bicycle paths, etc. The public input showed recommendations for traffic signals, bike and car share programs and grade separations, which are possibilities.

The plan will provide a list of projects and policy issues the university can take on, putting dollar signs behind the projects and anticipating areas that will need work done in certain years.

Horrocks is also looking traffic signal operations in the area and how to make the road network operate efficiently. Traffic signal timing plans should be updated every three years to be effective.

The consultant team provided the university with a parking simulation model that is used for planning and management. It has the layout of the campus, showing where parking is located. When a construction proposal comes out the university can plug the proposal into the model and see how it will affect different areas of campus, including parking, walking, bicycling and traffic.

The plan should be finished this year.

Seven main goals and objectives for the University Transportation Master Plan

  1. Sustainability – The plan must be sustainable and foster smart growth for the university.
  2. Coherent vision – The transportation plan should be consistent with the other master plans on campus.
  3. Regional mobility – The plan will incorporate all modes of transportation in a multi-model approach.
  4. Address concerns – The plan should address concerns and ideas expressed by nearby neighborhoods, those on campus, the city and greater community.
  5. Aesthetics – Proposed projects and improvements should look nice and fit into the campus setting as well as embrace a Complete Streets philosophy of working for all users.
  6. Engage stakeholders – The plan will be the result of engaging the university, employees, hospital, students, community leaders, neighbors and community groups for input and feedback.
  7. Usable Master Plan – The plan will contain financially feasible options and recommended implementation strategies.

Melissa Johnson, Commuter Services

The Red Flyer pilot program has ended and the shuttle is no longer going into the neighborhoods. It was running six hours a day, but unfortunately university officials didn’t see an increase in ridership, even after going door-to-door to notify residents and handing out flyers about the service. The university is now focusing on covering service to Park City with UTA.

Bob Simonton, director of Capital Projects

One of the main concerns for Capital Projects is having buildings in good, working condition on campus that don’t pose a threat. One of the ways the university is accomplishing this is by upgrading existing buildings to meet Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design standards. This helps lower university costs, improves space utilization, conservation and the life cycle costs of buildings.

The Capital program has three main objectives: reinvestment, access and excellence.

  1. Reinvestment – Keeping existing facilities operational
    Assessment of buildings on campus determining whether they need to be fixed or replaced. There’s a lot of work to do still and Capital Projects is determining which building are in imminent “failure mode” and need to be fixed now. Being proactive with buildings that aren’t failing right now will lower the costs to fix them.
  2. Access – Adding new facilities for enrollment growth 
  3. Excellence – Modifying existing facilities for program needs and changing building designs to meet those needs
    The buildings are being designed and planned to enhance the learning experience for students. Some of the buildings have layouts that encourage a collaborative style of engagement. This change in teaching and learning is why you’re seeing new buildings replacing old buildings.

Master planning

Master planning is where the university’s mission and strategic goals collide with the built environment. The last major revision to the university’s master plan was in 2008, but it’s a living document and over time updates are needed. In 2013 the university looked at Health Sciences campus to organize the buildings according to academic, clinical and research functions. We have also looked at a housing master plan to decide whether or not to fix up certain campus housing or replace them. There has also been a Fort Douglas plan. The federal government has donated portions of land to the university for years, and there is a plan in place if they give the university the remaining parcel.


Sustainability efforts at the university guided by these efforts:

  • American College and University President’s Climate Commitment – Along with 764 other universities, the U has signed a commitment to become carbon-neutral by 2050.
  • LEED Silver policy – to make a building more sustainable, the U makes sure each construction project LEED Silver or equivalent.
  • U Community Solar project – The U helped introduce 1.7 mega-watts of solar into the community.
  • Better buildings challenge – With the U.S. Department of Energy the U is trying to reduce building energy consumption by 20 percent by 2020 to reduce the university’s carbon footprint.

Community Outreach
Shireen Ghorbani, Facilities communications specialist

The university is focused on creating a better connection with the community by working closely with and through the Community Council chairs to get messages out and receive feedback. A great example of this was with the traffic and transportation master plan. After working directly through the council chairs to push the information out, over 200 more comments came in. Another way Facilities is getting their messages out is through social media and having the community council chairs push out messages on their social media accounts. If you’re not connected on social media, it’s a good place to look for updated information.

Current Capital Projects

Crocker Science CenterThis building is in poor condition and is a top priority for the university with the state. The plan includes a remodel of 71,000 square feet and adding 52,500 square feet to the building. Looking for approval from legislature to fund this project, which will cost $55 million. Last session legislature approved the design phase.

Orson Spencer Hall (OSH) – Because this building was constructed in three separate phases it’s a problem seismically. The best option is to demolish and replace it. It’s currently in the feasibility study phase to determine what’s the most appropriate use for the space. It’s the largest general classroom building on campus and the university is looking for approval during the legislative session to replace it. There will be a large fundraising component.

Alumni House – The project will expand the alumni house’s new 22,000-square-foot building in order to host a wider variety of events there. It could serve as a welcoming center for potential new students and the first place to introduce them to the university. It currently serves 18,000 people for annual events, but will be able to serve 23,400.

ACC/MED/Rehab hospital – At the heart of the Health Sciences campus is the 650,000-square-foot, original hospital and School of Medicine, which was built in 1965. A study done two years ago showed there are seismic issues with the building and it can’t be renovated to meet current codes. The new proposal will replace that building with three independent buildings, totaling 570,000 square feet, which will be completed in three phases. The first phase is clinical space, the second is the College of Medicine and third is the rehabilitation hospital. Relocation of community clinics will reduce the number of patients visiting the Health Sciences campus.

Farmington Health Care Center – This 131,000-square-foot building will expand clinical operations in Davis County to provide services closer to the community, which will alleviate congestion at campus facilities. Construction will begin this spring.

Health Sciences Parking Garage – This new parking structure will provide a net 1,002 parking spaces next to the student medical towers. This project is currently in design and construction to begin spring 2015 and finished by spring 2016.

Madsen Health Clinic – Plan is to renovate this space and take 20,000 patient visits a year off campus and into other clinics.

For a complete list of the projects under construction or recently completed, visit


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