Bridging the glen

It’s been a long time coming.

For over 20 years, visitors at the University Guest House and Conference Center have had to take an indirect route from the parking lot of the Guest House to the Legacy Bridge and the Officers’ Club parking lot. The Guest House’s location in Fort Douglas left these visitors with two options: loop from the parking lot around to the front of the hotel, or traverse a relatively-deep grassy basin, known as Chapel Glen, before ascending to the back entrance of the Guest House.

With growth comes change, though.

As the Guest House undergoes current expansion, a new bridge has been installed to connect the Guest House and the Officers’ Club parking lot. This bridge, built off-campus and installed in December 2018, has aided greatly in campus-wide navigation. Its location has helped facilitate the flow of traffic to nearby TRAX stops and other campus destinations.

“I think it’s going to help the hospital, it’s going to help the lower campus, and it’s going to help Fort Douglas,” said Debbie Tucker, the Marketing Manager for the University Guest House.

The off-site construction and installation of the new bridge made for a cost-effective solution. The bridge was brought in on an open trailer, where it was carefully hoisted by a crane and gently lowered down into place.

It’s safe to say that the bridge has pleased Guest House visitors and staff since its installation.

“The bridge is a great addition,” said Perry Hacker, Director of the University Guest House. “It has connected our two parking lots and created a quicker route to the Legacy Bridge.  The bridge links all of our conference center buildings into one walkable space. Our guests staying in the hotel can now access TRAX and lower campus so much easier. It has become a shortcut route for employees of the hospital as well.”

It goes beyond simple functionality, too. The bridge looks right at home next to the surrounding backdrop.

“It’s made out of steel that rusts and it has a natural look to it,” Tucker said. “It fits right into the landscape.”

“We love the convenience of it and it fits beautifully in the historic Chapel Glen,” Hacker said.

The Guest House’s current expansion, anticipated to be completed by the end of September, will result in a boost of foot traffic on the new bridge. Thirty suite-style rooms, equipped with kitchenettes, are being added to the Guest House to help it continue its mission of serving the University of Utah. This addition will bring the Guest House to a total of 206 rooms.

“We service all of campus,” Tucker said. “We serve the hospital community, all of our athletics and summer camps, and anyone else doing business on campus.”

In addition to the new rooms, additional office spaces and a new ballroom will be added. An attractive outdoor patio space will also be built.

“We can grow. What I love about it is that we’re going to be able to look out onto Mario Cappechi Drive and our view will go all the way out to the Oquirrh Mountains,” Tucker said.

Stunning views and peaceful spots all surround the new bridge. While Chapel Glen is still the perfect spot to escape the heat of summer in a small shaded ravine, it will no longer be an obstacle for individuals dashing to a morning meeting or interview in a pair of work shoes.