Salt Lake City unveils design of public safety HQ

No 'fortress' • $125M building will be energy efficient and complete 'civic campus.'
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Saying it is far from a "fortress," Salt Lake City officials unveiled the design of the long-anticipated $125 million public safety headquarters Friday, an angular, glass-faced, ultramodern building intended to be energy efficient and inviting to the public.

Mayor Ralph Becker predicted the police and fire headquarters, to be located on 300 East across from Library Square, "will establish a new standard for public buildings in the state."

It will be "net zero," meaning it produces as much energy as it consumes, complete with 30,000 square feet of solar panels, rooftop plants, radiant heating and lights that shut off when natural light is sufficient. A public, tree-filled plaza with free Wi-Fi, also will include solar-powered charging stations for cell phones, iPads and more gadgets.

The first floor will include a police-and-fire museum, community rooms and even a records room for public accessibility. Project manager David Hart said the glass, chosen to match the city's showcase Main Library, is "referencing the transparency."

At just 60 feet to the roof line, the building will not obscure mountain views from Library Square, architects stress. At the same time, the headquarters is intended to complete the city's so-called "civic campus," comprising the Matheson Courthouse, City Hall and Main Library all in an east-west row.

In November 2009, city voters overwhelmingly approved the bond for the building, which Hart said is "on budget."

A construction groundbreaking is scheduled for June 1, while the grand opening is slated for May 2013.

Derek P. Jensen