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South Jordan Journal

Summer 2020 to feature Daybreak Library and Civic Center’s Rooftop Gardens with 24/7 access

May 23, 2019 03:51PM ● By Jennifer J Johnson

Salt Lake County’s Daybreak Branch Library is set to be first county library with rooftop garden and state’s first institutional/commercial “Net-Zero” Energy Building. (Photo Courtesy: Architectural Nexus)

By Jennifer J. Johnson | [email protected]

Speaking to a crowd—both seated and standing—on a sunny, spring Earth Day Monday, an ebullient South Jordan Mayor Dawn Ramsey, in quoting Albert Einstein, crystalized it all: “'The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.”

Come next summer (2020), that lucky location will be in Daybreak, when the first Daybreak-specific, the second South Jordan-specific and the 19
th Countywide library, the SLCO Daybreak Branch, is scheduled to open.

‘The center of everything’ – looking outside/in

Salt Lake County, the city of South Jordan, the Daybreak Planned Community and the architect-builder team contracted to envision and then build what will be Salt Lake County’s newest library gathered the morning of April 22 to break ground on the Daybreak branch of the County Library System in a location even Einstein would approve—what County Library Director Jim Cooper dubbed “the center of everything.”

The word “everything” is an apt word to describe the library.

The 26,000-square-foot building is set to become the first “Net-Zero” institutional or commercial building in Utah. 

A Net-Zero Energy Building is designed such that the total amount of energy used by the building on an annual basis is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site.

Its rooftop garden also makes it a first for the County Library System. The “urban re-wilding” look/feel and composition of the rooftop garden is inspired by New York’s Meatpacking District’s internationally award-winning “High Line” linear park and greenway and will suit Daybreak’s sustainable, water-wise landscaping.

The Daybreak rooftop garden and other exterior amenities will make its benefits available 24/7/365, competing more than heartily against the tug of staying online, indoors, potentially alone, with a bag of chips in tow.

‘Creation’ and ‘community’ areas on the inside

The library’s insides appear to be equally captivating—with emphases on “creation” and “community.”

The library will offer “create” environments to enable tinkering minds to repair bicycles or invent the next coolest thing with 3-D printers or encourage all-ages creation of podcasts, videos and music recordings.

The “Community Living Room” is what the county deems “a go-to spot for an informal hang out or co-working space.” And the Community Café makes even eating inside the library kosher. Rotating art exhibits enhance the community flavor.

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson and South Jordan Mayor Dawn Ramsey (third from right) are joined by SoJo City Council reps Jason McGuire (far left) and Tamara Zander (second from left) in breaking ground for the new Daybreak Branch of the SLCO Library System. (Photo Courtesy: Rachael Van Cleave/City of South Jordan)


“As this part of the county continues to see rapid growth and development, the Daybreak branch is going to be in the center of everything,” Cooper said. “We’re excited for the residents of this valley.”

“Gather, learn, enjoy!” was County Mayor Jenny Wilson’s charge for residents of not just Daybreak and South Jordan but the whole Southwest Quadrant in what will be a world-class library.

‘Community is a team sport’

Achieving “world-class” does not happen in a vacuum.

“This isn’t just a cookie-cutter library,” Daybreak Communities Director of Community and External Relations Rulon Dutson said.

What makes the project so unique, he and others indicated, is the extensive public engagement process used with residents of Daybreak and SoJo to co-create what Dutson sees as becoming much more than a library, but a community lynchpin.

Salt Lake City-based Architectural Nexus (Arch Nexus) is the architect of record for the project. 

The 120-person Salt Lake City firm, credited as being one of the top-three architecture firms in the state, according to Utah Construction and Design magazine, seems to be hitting its stride in winning Salt Lake City and county library projects, as its designs power the county’s Millcreek Community Center (just tapped as a highlighted area for Wilson’s cross-county town-hall tour), SLC’s Glendale Library and two projects just beginning construction—the SLC Sprague Library renovation and the County’s Kearns Library.

Arch Nexus worked with area stakeholders through multiple public-input sessions to deliver the plan for the library. The firm even has three employees who live in the Daybreak development.

“Community is a team sport,” Kingston said.

Farmington-based Ascent Construction, which built one of the first certified “green” buildings in the state, is the construction firm for the project. 

SoJo’s second library, Daybreak’s first, and looking to get more SLCO libraries on the books

County Councilman Michael Jensen complimented South Jordan’s role in the project. “South Jordan is a great partner,” he told the crowd attending the groundbreaking event, just along the TRAX lines at11358 Grandville Ave. (approximately 5600 South). “This is a great city, a great community, and Daybreak is so forward-thinking. This library is going to be pretty busy, pretty fast.”

Cooper was likewise complimentary of the working relationship with the city, dubbing it “a fabulous relationship that we continue to develop and nurture” and taking time to call out SoJo City Manager Gary Whatcott and Strategic Services Director Don Tingey. 

Ramsey expressed enthusiasm for South Jordan’s soon-to-be-having two libraries within the community. “On behalf of the 85,000 residents of South Jordan, thank you for being mindful of our needs on this end of the valley,” she told Wilson and all assembled.

“What Daybreak does not have a lot of is civic space,” said Kingston, noting the new library will help the nationally ranked Daybreak community and the No. 2-selling community in Utah better serve residents.

National Real Estate Advisors publishes an annual list of the best-selling planned communities in the country. For 2018, Daybreak is the 12
th-hottest nationally, the only recognized community in Utah mentioned in the survey.

Daybreak’s Dutson had his eye on the future.

“So, there’s where the first library will be,” he told the crowd gathered for the groundbreaking. “Where will Nos. 2 and 3 go?” he said.

Then a few minutes later, he reiterated, “Once again, let’s plan sites two and three.”

The persistent Dutson repeated this sentiment the following week in presenting a Daybreak community case study to the Salt Lake County Council’s Regional Planning “Growth Summit” at the SLCO County Complex and also to a Facebook live audience.

“Strong libraries make strong communities,” Dutson said.