Combined Parking Garage/Sports Field is a Hit for U. of U.
Layton Nation — Across the U.S., Layton is constructing the buildings where you work, learn, play & heal. Today we look back to see how a unique parking structure we built in 2015 has impacted its campus community.
SALT LAKE CITY (November 22, 2019) — Integrating where the University of Utah parks and plays is now the school’s go-to move for development while the school expands athletically and academically. Since joining the Pac 12 in 2011, the University of Utah has gained national recognition competing alongside some of the West Coast’s top schools, including Stanford and UCLA. With this transition and the University of Utah’s student body continually growing, the need for additional parking spaces and athletic field areas increased.
Completed by Layton Construction in 2015, the Central Garage and Field at the University of Utah has put a unique spin to filling University needs while conserving valuable land needed for research and academic use. The new parking facility has almost doubled the original amount of parking spaces available, taking it from the 450-space surface lot it was, to the now 5-story structure consisting of 800 parking spaces and practice field on the top level.
The structure has proven to be highly valuable to the University of Utah, who has suffered from a lack of parking for decades with most of their available parking located far from the center of campus. The new structure provides centrally-located parking with convenient street access, replacing a small, congested and contested lot in the middle of campus and provides parking spaces for faculty, visitors, and students. It also provides parking for evening and weekend events that draw visitors from around the state. This significant parking increase has been significantly useful to the U, not only delivering a solution for the high demand for campus parking, but also providing student athletes a field to practice in an ideal location on campus.
Due to its highly centralized and visible location, it was critical to create a structure that fit perfectly into the campus landscape. Nestled amid the Business Buildings, the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, and Huntsman Center, it is the perfect addition to meet the growing need for parking on campus. The structure accommodates students and faculty, PAC-12 sports fans, University of Utah basketball, football, perennially ranked gymnastics and other sports, as well as the nationally renowned Virginia Tanner Dance program.
The garage was designed to fit into a natural east-to-west slope to maintain a very low profile with five levels above ground on the west side, but only one level on the east side. In addition to a low-profile parking garage that compliments the surrounding campus, rather than dominate it, the structure features semi-transparent mesh panels in various shades of brown that stagger across the exterior making the garage feel as if it’s a natural outcrop of the majestic foothills surrounding the campus. This design also allows natural light to permeate the garage interior, enhancing visibility and safety. Due to the slope design, an entry and exit are available on the fourth level with an additional exit at the bottom of the garage. To enhance safety and convenience, there are call boxes and motion activated lights spaced evenly throughout the garage. These design and safety elements not only prove useful, but allow the garage to blend well with the campus’ beautiful mix of new buildings and history-packed original structures.
During the design phase for the Central Garage and Field, the University of Utah decided to include an extra level for an intramural sports field. The field is 368 feet by 180 feet (66,240 square feet), roughly 75% of a regulation soccer field. The field was fully booked and immediately put to use upon project completion and is reported to have remained a heavily used feature for the soccer, lacrosse, and intramural sports teams since—adding both utility and interest to the center of campus. The Executive Director for the University of Utah Commuter Services, Alma Allred, speaks to how the garage and field has benefited the University since completion, saying, “With the aesthetics of having the field on top, it’s been a very good addition to campus, both aesthetically and operationally.” A parking garage that offers an aesthetic appeal is a win for the University of Utah’s campus, adding to the beautiful campus atmosphere rather than detracting from it.
Since opening for use in 2015, Allred states that the University has been very pleased with the facility. It was a much-needed addition to campus and was completed through a great partnership with Layton. Allred states, “Parking garages are very expensive. This one was very well priced, though, I have to say. I think Layton did a very good job of coming in well under what we projected it to cost.”
Layton Construction not only delivered a great price but also maintained a heavy focus on quality and craftsmanship, putting in a significant amount of self-performed concrete work into the structure. Various members of the construction team were invited daily to walk the garage with the superintendent and suggest ways to improve the quality and safety of the structure. Working closely with the design team and owner, Layton was able to ensure high quality and accuracy of the work through a thorough understanding of the vision and expectations for the garage and field.
When asked if the University would do more projects like this in the future, Allred says, “As we build garages, you have to use existing landscape or parking facilities. So, if we build another garage, particularly where there are practice fields, undoubtedly it will have a practice field on top.” In addition, he states, “Layton provided a model we can follow in additional facilities.”
Layton Construction is happy to see the garage and field in use, especially knowing how much of an asset the structure is to the continued education and research of the University of Utah.
About Layton Construction
Layton Construction Company is consistently ranked among the top commercial contractors in the nation, currently the 44th largest builder on ENR’s Top 400 Commercial Contractors list, with revenues of $1.8 billion annually. Layton specializes in construction management, design-build construction and general contracting. Layton’s construction projects are found throughout the United States, and cover a wide spectrum of industry sectors, including healthcare, hospitality, education, data centers, office buildings, manufacturing, warehouse and distribution, sports and entertainment, detention, and public safety. Headquartered in Utah, Layton also has regional offices in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho and Tennessee.