Planners say they want to build a $16 million science and adventure cen-ter at the State Fairpark.
The Fairpark Board, which met this week in Salt Lake City, is anxious to see the facility located there. But whether the plans materialize is dependent on whether developers and the state can work out mutually beneficial financial and other arrangements.It appeared Wednesday that the center, proposed by Project 7 Alliance, might become a reality. That has sparked excitement among Fairpark officials who have been working to create facilities and programs that will help the Fairpark, a public nonprofit corporation since 1995, become financially independent.
The 10-member Fairpark Board hopes that a separate facility, the Living Planet Aquarium, will also be located on the 65-acre site. The board has also notified Brent Andersen, president, and Steve Schul-kens, executive vice president, that the board is interested in the aquarium being a part of the Fairpark.
Board Chairman Lynn Runolfson, building committee chairman Richard S. Prows and other board members said Tuesday they hope to get a commitment before long from Andersen and Schulkens on whether the Fairpark is their first choice of a site for the aquarium.
The board said it will ask the Utah Division of Facilities, Construction and Management (DFCM) to contract soon with a private architectural firm for a site plan. The plan would detail how the science center, the aquarium and other facilities might fit into the overall Fairpark master plan. DFCM is the state agency with oversight responsibility for the Fairpark.
On the urging of Prows, the board is also interested in developing an expositions center in the existing Grand Building.
"This would be a place where school districts could bring students to help them explore and identify early a possible career. Also, the center could ideally be a place where tourists, business people and others could get an overall view of . . . our state," Prows said.
Displaying pictures of Balboa Park in San Diego, Prows told the Fairpark Board that he hopes an expositions center can encompass some of the features of the San Diego park.
Schulkens said Wednesday that a site selection committee from his organization has been formed and will be studying a proposal received recently from the Fairpark regarding the aquarium.
"We are looking at at least three but as many as five sites. The three main sites are in Lehi near Thanksgiving Point, the Fairpark and Salt Lake's Gateway site," Schulkens said.