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Construction begins soon on new Utah Pride Center building

Written by Michael Aaron

The Utah Pride Center announced earlier this year that they had sold their building on Fourth South in hopes of finding one that better suits their needs. They did just that, in a building near the Smith’s Ballpark at 1380 S. Main Street. While the exterior of the building will only need a refresh of signage, the interior is going through a fairly significant renovation.

The new building is 12,000 square feet on three levels with full ADA access throughout. It was initially built as a branch of Mountain America Credit Union, and most recently housed the Consulado De Mexico. Much of the bank interior remained, including teller windows and two huge vaults. The main floor has been basically cleared to the studs with the cabinet work and fixtures that couldn’t be used elsewhere donated to the Salt Lake Valley Habitat for Humanity’s Restore. Several walls will be moved or removed to better accommodate the mixture of group meeting space, staff offices and the Community Counseling Center.

The main floor is taken mostly by a large, open lobby and reception area, and a 13-person conference room and 45-person meeting room. Double doors will open outside to a patio. There are also a prep kitchen and restrooms on this level.

Upstairs are staff offices, an 18-person conference room, a break room and a separated area for the counseling center with seven offices and an 18-person conference/meeting room.

The basement is mainly for youth services, including an open area that can accommodate 50 people, a 15-person group room, prep kitchen, and restrooms.

Many will be happy to hear that the building has 54 parking spaces, plus easy street parking on Main Street.

The old building was found to present many problems for the nonprofit organization, including lack of an elevator, mechanical issues on the main level and limited parking, especially as the parking structure was showing its age.

The new building was paid for, in part, by the proceeds of the old building, plus additional funds raised by the Center’s Capital Campaign Committee. Joint campaign directors were Jane Marquardt, Jackie Biskupski and Brett Tolman, with Beano Solomon and Bruce Bastian as honorary directors. Michelle Turpin and Laura Gray were also significant members of the committee.

Executive director Carol Gnade and her staff considered many buildings in determining the Center’s new home. Proximity to public transit, ADA compliance, building size, and complexity of the buildout to make it work for their needs were among the top considerations.

Jill Jones and her team at AJC Architects are doing the interior plan. The Center chose KNP Construction as the general contractor for the project. Mona Stevens of Keller Williams was the real estate agent for the purchase.

The “hope-for” date is the end of February.

Group meetings and counseling are currently happening at 352 S. Denver Street, which is about 440 East.

In its history, the Center was located at Third West and Fourth North in the Marmalade for 14 years, from 1998–2012, and at its most recent location on Fourth South for five years from 2012–2017. In its previous incarnation, as the Utah Stonewall Center, it was at Fourth South and Ninth East in 1991 and Ninth South and Third West from 1992-1996.

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About the author

Michael Aaron

Michael Aaron is the editor and publisher of QSaltLake. He has been active in Utah's gay and lesbian community since the early 80s and published two publications then and in the 90s.

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