Chairs were spaced six feet apart, handshakes were scarce and face masks common as nearly 50 members of the Utah Chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America gathered June 22 to break ground for the association’s long-awaited training center in Salt Lake City.

They were joined by several local governmental officials to launch the 16,000-sq-ft, $5-million facility sited next to AGC of Utah’s headquarters. The facility comprises what AGC of Utah Chairman Darin Zwick calls a “construction campus.”

“This will become a new home for the future workers in the construction industry and a great asset for those who will continue to build our industry and our state,” Zwick says.

The two-acre site in a West Valley City office park is bordered by the Jordan River and the river trail on one side, faces the street on the west, and includes parking for both the training facility and the AGC of Utah building.

Salt Lake City-based Archiplex Group designed both buildings, which are similar in appearance and materials. “This building is really the vison of the members. We just put the lines on paper, but it will be a great, complementary building to the headquarters and make this a cohesive campus,” says Archiplex Group’s Preston Croxford.

AGC of Utah President/CEO Rich Thorn says that, like the chapter’s headquarters, the new facility will be built and financed entirely by donations from member firms and supporters.

“This is an old-fashioned barn raising-type effort,” Thorn says. “Our members and friends of the construction industry are really making this happen. There are other facilities like this operated by AGC chapters, but we think this is unique in that it will be built entirely with donated labor, materials and in-kind donations from our member firms and friends of Utah construction who support what the association does.”

Croxford says the building has an open, flexible floor plan. It includes high-bay space to construct scaffolding for learning to work safely at heights, space for training by multiple trades, as well as classrooms and an auditorium.  

Thorn says the new training center will be used by a wide range of groups. “This will be a home for Department of Labor-recognized apprenticeship programs as well as our safety training, continuing education and pre-contractor licensing classes. Members will be able to use this space for their individual company training and meetings too,” he says. “When this is done, it will increase our training capacity by almost three-fold.”

Thorn says the site, which was purchased from the Utah Transit Authority last year, required some preparation before construction could get underway.

“We brought in cobble fill, and the crews placed 442 geo-piers around the site to get it ready,” Thorn says.

Among the speakers at the groundbreaking were West Valley City Mayor Ron Bigelow, Utah State Sen. Karen Mayne (D. West Valley) and Gordon Reynolds, director of the building trades program at Mountainland Technical College, which also will utilize the training center.

The college has partnered with AGC since 2015, when the association opened a small training facility in an industrial warehouse district west of Salt Lake City. Thorn says that facility will be closed after the new one is completed, and much of the equipment will be relocated.

The new AGC training facility is expected to be complete by spring of next year.