During the ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, April 11, 2012.
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Millcreek is about to get a community center designed to meet the divergent needs of its varied population.
A senior center, a library and a recreation center will be united under one roof when the new Millcreek Community Center opens at 10 a.m. Wednesday at 2266 E. Evergreen Ave. (3435 South).
"This is the first time we've shared facilities so intimately," Jim Cooper, Salt Lake County's director of library services, said Thursday when the news media received a preview of the $18.5 million facility.
A library and a rec center formerly occupied the site of the community center. Old and small, both have been expanded and modernized in this community center. The library's collection of materials has grown by 50,000 items to 122,000, Cooper said, while workout rooms now have state-of-the-art equipment.
What makes this community center different is its inclusion of a senior center. While Millcreek has plenty of young families, the east-central community also has one of the valley's highest proportions of seniors, so it was only fitting to have a facility for them, said County Aging Services Director Sarah Brenna.
"To have all of us sharing this place, it's going to be great," she added.
The three operations are linked by a walking/running track that weaves around the second story of the 64,000-square-foot building, overlooking a gym with six hoops for basketball and curving around a kids' reading room. The track's walls feature numerous windows, offering striking views of Mount Olympus and Evergreen Park (still under reconstruction).
Just as the walkway unites all three functions, county officials hope it will produce population mixes in which, for instance, it won't be unusual for an old-timer to be teaching a kid how to play billiards, while in another room a 12-year-old will be providing seniors with instruction on how to use Facebook, said senior center supervisor Bev Uipi. The Millcreek Center will continue one of the main functions of senior centers — ensuring that seniors receive nutritious lunches. But the format will be different from the others, Brenna said, with food coming from a café open to all.
Technology will abound in the new center, particularly in the library, which will be twice as big as its predecessor. Two dozen computers will be available for the public, a few more have been set up in tutoring rooms, and library branch manager Suzanne Tronier made sure that electrical outlets were installed near seating areas so visitors can use their own laptops.
Because Millcreek residents are so fond of their area's namesake creek and canyon, architect Kenner Kingston said the building incorporates both elements in its design. A symbolic stream flows through the library, while the café is in its lowest area, the canyon bottom. Two other noteworthy art features: Pieces of the old gym floor decorate some of the internal walls, while another wall is covered with a colorful spiral of gym shoes.