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West Jordan Journal

Construction begins again with second groundbreaking, celebration for West Jordan’s new Community and Arts Center

Apr 16, 2024 11:24AM ● By Rebecca Olds

Mayor Dirk Burton kicks off the groundbreaking of West Jordan’s new Community and Arts Center with a few words to commemorate the occasion. (Courtesy West Jordan City)

By Rebecca Olds | [email protected]

A dedicated space for West Jordan’s Cultural Arts Society has been in the works for a long time, making the public wonder if the West Jordan Community and Arts Center would ever be built. 

When Mayor Dirk Burton announced the new center would finally be moving forward, the whole auditorium erupted in cheers after the Youth Theater’s performance of Tarzan in early 2024.

“Even though West Jordan is the big, third largest city in the state of Utah, when we have things like this, it helps it feel smaller and more connected,” Mayor Burton said. 

On Friday, April 5, seven years after the first groundbreaking, a hopeful group gathered at the construction site for the building located at 8105 S. 2200 West and kicked off construction once again.

There are seven organizations under the Cultural Arts Society of West Jordan that will use the building including the city’s Concert, Jazz and Senior Bands, Symphony, Youth Theatre and the Sugar Factory Playhouse group.

The West Jordan Community and Arts Center is expected to be completed in mid-to-late May 2025, with shows starting in the fall that same year, said Tauni Barker of the city’s communications department.

A false start

After false starts in 2017 and 2020 when the building became too expensive for the city to complete, and a loss of funding because of COVID-19, Burton said both he and the city staff were anxious to get the project moving again. With help from SIRQ Construction and Method Studio, city staff adjusted the center’s original plans to cut down costs and make the home for the arts society a reality, sooner rather than later. 

“Instead of saying ‘hey, give me a price on this plan,’ we said ‘here’s the price, give me a plan,’” Burton said. “And that’s what they did.” 

To make the building more affordable and stay under a $10 million budget, the size of the building was lessened and adjustments were made, like replacing the sloped auditorium floor with a flat one.

“It's only about a 240 to 250 seat theater,” said Vic Groves, the secretary of the Cultural Arts Society of West Jordan. “So it probably wouldn't be big enough for the symphony and the band and things.”

For now, Groves said, bigger performances will have to continue to be performed at the Viridian Event Center until a bigger space becomes available, but is happy to have a permanent place for the arts again. 

Current plans leave room for expansion on the east side of the building to accommodate the growth when more funding can be secured to increase the space, the mayor explained. 

A homeless arts society

The building will be built almost exactly where the original Sugar Factory Playhouse building was torn down in 2005 and where the Sugar Factory Playhouse theater group performed there more than 15 years ago. 

Michelle Groves, chairperson of the Sugar Factory Playhouse, has been involved with the group for more than 26 years. She said the group has been homeless for a long time and they are excited to have a center for the arts again, despite the smaller plans.

“We stared in the park and then we went to the church that was next door to city hall,” said Groves before noting that they had to move from that space to make way for the new fire station.

The group relocated at least four times over the years, moving into the old library on 7800 South after the church location before finally renting out a space for rehearsals.

“Even despite the challenges, they’ve worked their way through those challenges, and they grew through them,” Burton said. “We are so fortunate that the West Jordan arts community continued to put on plays, and they continued to do their visual and literary arts, they just haven’t had a real-solid place to do it.”