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Parkite draws winning plans

On Earth Day, Park City High School alumn Kyle Schoephoerster was told he would have a hand literally in a major facelift of the University of Utah Marriott Library.

Just east of the library is a wide expanse of concrete that for years has functioned as an open plaza on which students occasionally hold protests or election rallies. Aside from mass gatherings, the centrally-located sea of cement is mostly a thoroughfare.

The University of Utah graduating class of 2010 elected to fund a $22,000 renovation of the plaza to make it a more comfortable gathering place and, in general, better utilize the square footage, Schoephoerster explained.

A contest was held with a $5,000 prize to redesign the space and Schoephoerster’s urban ecology course taught by Steve Storheim took it on as a final project. An architectural hand draftsman for the Park City firm Otto Walker, the U of U junior did the drawings for the redesign himself.

Out of 13 contestants, some of which were professionals, Schoephoerster’s class won over the judges mostly faculty for the College of Architecture.

The plans stay under budget and will re-use much of the existing concrete to create benches. The university class elected to produce a "greener" plaza with planters, shade and ample room for tables, chairs and umbrellas all colored crimson, of course.

Schoephoerster said construction will begin immediately and the plaza will be complete by next spring. His class was able to incorporate some of their favorite elements of sustainable building including rammed-earth walls, he said.

"We were thinking of how to give back to the environment instead of taking something from it," he explained. "For those people who participated, it definitely paid off."

And what about protests and rallies? Schoephoerster said the plaza will be a more comfortable place to gather making those functions even more welcoming. The space will also have a moveable stage to host music performances.


View U of U Library to get new plaza in a larger map


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