Sundance will star an upgraded Santy Auditorium |

Sundance will star an upgraded Santy Auditorium

Most people in Park City are probably not already counting the days until the opening of the Sundance Film Festival in January.

But the City Hall officials overseeing the renovation of the Park City Library and Education Center certainly have the Jan. 22 Sundance start date marked on the calendar.

The facility is closed for a major redo that is targeted for completion in June. Work started in May. But Sundance organizers have long used the Santy Auditorium as a screening room during the festival. City Hall insisted on a construction schedule at the Library and Education Center that ensured Sundance could use the auditorium in January.

Matt Twombly, who is managing the project for City Hall, said the work thus far is on schedule to ensure the Santy Auditorium will be ready for Sundance. The work in the auditorium itself started in late September and will include upgrades to the sound system and new projection equipment. The crews already completed structural work to the floor and the roof of the Santy Auditorium.

The crews, though, need to complete a punch list of other items to ensure the Sundance screening room is not interrupted. By the start of Sundance, Twombly said, the area around the third floor Santy Auditorium will be completed. The restrooms on all three floors of the building will be finished as well, he said. The stairways and the elevator will also be ready by Sundance, Twombly said, indicating a new elevator was ordered early on during the project to make sure it was installed by Sundance.

"Right from the beginning, we made it clear with Okland and the rest of the project team . . . that Sundance was the priority," Twombly said, referring to the firm City Hall hired as the general contractor.

The rest of the project will not be finished by Sundance. Twombly said the crews will build temporary walls before Sundance to keep festival-goers from wandering into the construction zone.

The Library and Education Center work is the latest in a list of major municipal projects, such as the redo of the Racquet Club in Park Meadows into the Park City Municipal Athletic & Recreation Center and the renovation of the Marsac Building.

The project, supporters say, will create a 21st century library with technological upgrades and expanded space. It will also include environmental features. The construction is expected to cost a little less than $7.1 million. The overall project price tag, which includes other costs like moving the collection out of the building and then back in, is anticipated to be $9.3 million. The project remains on budget.

Twombly said the demolition work at the site was completed late in the summer. Inside, he said, the crews "pretty much gutted the building." Outside, meanwhile, an addition that was constructed in 1992 that wrapped around the west side of the building was demolished to the foundation. The crews have finished structural upgrades to the roof and put down a new protective membrane there. They have also finished the structural upgrades to the interior walls and floors. Twombly said the Library and Education Center will meet current building codes once it is finished. Some of the upgrades are meant to make the building safer if an earthquake strikes.

Twombly, meanwhile, said the majority of the steel beams have been installed where the addition will be built. Other tasks that were ongoing at the start of the month included interior framing, installing duct work needed for the building’s mechanical system and putting in conduit for the electrical system. Plumbing work was also underway.

He noted one of the issues the crews encountered was a result of using structural plans for the building dating to 1926. The crews discovered that the original builders did not follow the structural blueprints precisely.

"Some of the structural elements were missing from the 1926 plans, or what was planned," Twombly said.

A few steel beams or steel posts needed to be installed that had been shown on the 1926 plans but never put in place.

The Park City Library is operating in temporary space at Miners Hospital during the renovation. Books are stored at several locations, including Miners Hospital and the Marsac Building.

Two other Library and Education Center tenants plan to return to the building in June. The Park City Film Series will reclaim its traditional screening room in the Santy Auditorium. The Park City Cooperative Preschool will also be housed in the building, as it has in the past.

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