The Utah Aquarium board of trustees has selected an architectural firm and commercial contractor to build out the aquarium’s new facility in Draper City, Utah after soliciting statements of interest and qualifications from design teams and contractors. The trustees selected Beecher Walker Architects and Layton Construction to design and build the new Living Planet Aquarium, a projected 130,000 square foot facility that will dwarf the current 43,000-square-foot facility in nearby Sandy. Groundbreaking for the new facility will be in April 2012. It will house 60+ tanks and will also have revolving exhibit space for new exhibits each year. The new facility is expected to be completed in the spring of 2013.
“The new Board, consisting of seasoned executives, is excited with the tremendous progress made by the aquarium in the last two years, including fund raising, state appropriations and land acquisition,” Ragula Bhaskar, Ph.D., Chairman of the Board said in a prepared statement. Bhaskar said the aquarium will be one of the best facilities in the Intermountain West region.
The aquarium has raised nearly $7 million to build out the facility and the city of Draper will float a bond of approximately $11.7 million to complete the facility. Since opening in 2004, and then moving again in 2006, the aquarium has hosted more than 375,000 visitors each year and has grown more than 50 percent during the recession, according to a press release put out by the aquarium. The new aquarium’s construction is expected to support 317 jobs, and the aquarium is expected to generate $1.7 million in tax revenues for the state. For more information, visit The Living Planet Aquarium’s website.