Big-D Construction – Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts

Big D pic

Big-D Construction delivers a standout arts center project for Southern Utah University.

By Chris Petersen

As the new home of the Southern Utah Museum of Art and the Utah Shakespeare Festival on the campus of Southern Utah University, the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts will be home to some very impressive productions. Perhaps fittingly, the new facility has been a very impressive production in its own right, and the expertise of Big-D Construction has been instrumental in ensuring that the curtain goes up without a hitch. Vice President and Project Director Jim Allison says the project is a unique addition to the company’s portfolio, and should stand as a testament to the power of public-private partnerships for decades to come.

Officially opening this July, the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts encompasses two city blocks and consists of two new buildings. The new home of the Southern Utah Museum of Art is a 18,000-square-foot single-story building that provides flexible gallery space along with classrooms, art storage space and administrative offices. The new facility for the Utah Shakespeare Festival covers more than 86,000 square feet, including the 900-seat open-air Engelstad Shakespeare Theater, along with rehearsal space, an indoor theater and costume fabrication facilities. Big D box

Although building large-scale projects like the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts is nothing new for a contractor as experienced and skilled as Big-D Construction, Allison says the company nevertheless encountered some challenges along the way. Thanks to the company’s skills and know-how, however, Big-D Construction was able to deliver the project in a way that was cost-effective while still living up to the university’s vision.

Controlling Costs

According to Allison, even though Big-D Construction came in with the lowest bid for the project, its initial estimates for the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts were still a bit more than the university had budgeted for the project. Allison says Big-D’s value-engineering process cut back on some areas of the project and ended up removing about $2 million from the cost of the project while still keeping the quality, which allowed it to move forward.

“Even with all the value-engineering and cost-cutting it still turned out to be a beautiful building, and probably anybody else who walked through it would probably not know we cut anything out unless they were intimately involved with the project,” Allison says.

Big-D Construction’s ability to work within its budget while remaining true to the original vision for the project allowed the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts to retain its most distinctive elements, and perhaps none are as distinctive as the open-air Engelstad Shakespeare Theater. Although the entire Utah Shakespeare Festival facility incorporates the latest in modern theatrical amenities and audio-visual technology, the open-air theater provides a link to the past and provides theatergoers with the opportunity to see Shakespeare’s works in the way his original audiences did.

“It’s really a beautiful building, the main theater,” Allison says. “It’s really cool to go in and see a theater out of doors to watch the plays outdoors. Everybody seems to really enjoy that, it’s just unique.”

Big-D Construction CEO Jack Livingood, son of company founder Dee Livingood, has been a supporter of the Utah Shakespeare Festival for 20 years. Allison says the ribbon-cutting ceremony in July was very emotional for him because it meant the company was partly responsible for ensuring the festival’s future.

The Utah Shakespeare Festival facility is connected via walkways to the Southern Utah Museum of Art facility, which Allison says provides a new type of space for art exhibits on campus. The structural steel building features cast-in-place high-performance concrete panels and curtainwall glass on the exterior. Allison says the construction of the building gives it a sound profile that creates a quiet museum atmosphere.

Another unique aspect of the museum building allows it to be a more flexible space. “It’s got this huge, cantilevered roof that comes out over the West side of the building over the entry plaza, and it’s all covered so they can have small dinners and fundraisers or donor parties, those kinds of things,” Allison says. “It’s something you won’t see anywhere else; it’s very unique.”

Inspired Culture

Projects like the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts can’t come together without a contractor that brings skill and vision to the job site, and that’s what Big-D Construction has done for nearly 50 years. Founded in 1967 after Dee Livingood sold his car for $1,000, the company says its strength is rooted in the values Livingood instilled in it from day one.

“Dee started with almost nothing – very little money, no business experience and no customers,” the company says. “All he had was a big idea about the way things ought to be done. He wanted a company based on equal respect for customers and employees. A company based on honesty and integrity. A company where there is no difference between what is said and what is done.

“Today, [Livingood’s] founding culture continues to inspire us here at Big-D,” the company continues. “We aren’t perfect, but we strive to do the right things. Best of all, our talented teams continue to enjoy the support and freedom to build outstanding careers, with a firm belief that the best chapters of our history have yet to be written.”

Current Issue

Check out our latest edition!

alan blog ct

Contact Us

Construction Today Magazine

Cringleford Business Centre
Intwood Road
Cringleford, Norwich, UK

Click here for a full list of contacts.

Latest Edition

Latest Edition

Spread The Love

Back To Top