Former National Guard Armory to serve as Murray City’s latest indoor gathering placeMay 08, 2023 12:07PM ● By Shaun Delliskave |
An architect rendering of the proposed interior of the Murray Armory. (Photo courtesy of Murray City)
Adding a new jewel to its park and recreation crown, Murray City will begin renovating the National Guard Armory as a meeting place and indoor pavilion. The armory building, which has functioned as a Murray Parks and Rec storage facility, borders Murray Park’s Arboretum and Little Cottonwood Creek.
Murray Parks and Recreation Director Kim Sorensen said, “Anticipated use includes city dinners, meetings, events, trainings, social gatherings, small company conventions and weddings. The building will be available for outside rentals, similar to a park pavilion.”
It was built in 1949 by the Frederickson Building Company of Salt Lake on the west side of Murray Park. This building was commissioned by the National Guard to be used as a motor vehicle storage garage. The National Guard also built a separate Armory at 5200 S. State St. in 1955. Units at the time of dedication were the 115th Engineer and the 1334th Engineer battalions.
Murray City and Salt Lake County donated the land to the National Guard for the Amory with the agreement that they could use the indoor gymnasium during the county fair. The National Guard also donated an S-84 airplane (used as a slide) and anti-aircraft guns. The aircraft was mounted in Murray Park as part of a playground for public use, and the aircraft guns are still in Constitution Circle.
When the National Guard opened its current main headquarters in Draper in the 1990s, they sold the property to Salt Lake County.
“The building was purchased in 2009. The city bought the building and property from Salt Lake County using county open space funds. The agreement with the county does not allow the city to sell the property. Furthermore, the property could only be used for recreation uses,” Sorensen said.
The site and floor plans show that the existing overhead doors will remain and be used to expand the event space into the north pedestrian plaza and the south outdoor seating and outdoor plaza space. The property has multiple access points but primarily would be accessed by Myrtle Avenue and Jones Court. These roads serve the Boys & Girls Club, Ken Price Ballfield and Murray Park.
Murray Parks and Rec propose significant upgrades to the site to help blend the renovated armory building into Murray Park. In addition, they are offering to include a new pedestrian plaza surrounding the building, perimeter landscaping, and a pedestrian path to connect to the Murray Arboretum.
“The building is very basic as it was used for a vehicle maintenance shop. The bones of the building are in good shape. Upgrades to mechanical systems, roofing, grounds, seismic upgrades, and interior need to be completed. AJC Architecture was hired to develop plans for the development of the facility. AJC determined the building could be repurposed at a lower cost than tearing it down and rebuilding,” Sorensen said.
The armory meeting space will join other similar public park facilities. Wheeler Farm has several available indoor spaces, including the Show Barn, the Activity Barn and the Pavilion. Liberty Park has several indoor areas, including the Chase Mill, the Tracy Aviary Education Center and the Rotary Clubhouse. Sugar House Park has the Garden Center. International Peace Gardens has a Cultural Hall.
“We are working on a cost estimate to be completed and submitted to the Mayor and City Council during the upcoming budget process,” Sorensen said.
With the Armory project, Murray continues an active construction spree. The city will finish the new city hall in June with the renovation of the Murray Mansion, as home to the Murray Museum, not far behind. Across the street from the Mansion, the city announced that the historic Townsend Home would be moved down the road by the Murray Chapel. In addition, the city has begun the restoration of the Murray Theater and hopes to have that finished in the next 12 months. λ