The “Gallivan Center” is a plaza in the heart of Salt Lake City where all types of outdoor activities including ice skating, and concerts take place. Central to the many attractions of the plaza are the outdoor stage and an outdoor ice rink. Hundreds and sometimes thousands of people attend the many summer concerts and enjoy ice skating outdoors in the winter.

There were problems, however. The old ice rink location near the stage was in the way of some of the best seating areas for the summer concerts. In the winter the ice quality was inconsistent, with some wet areas and soft spots. The ice rink and ice-making equipment were old and failing.

There was also dismay about the hordes of port-a-potties needed whenever a big event was held. The port-a-potties were a distasteful necessity that blemished the atmosphere and experience on the plaza.

Salt Lake RDA, EDA Architects, and VBFA Consulting Engineers, had a vision to renew the plaza and make it a friendlier environment and to use the space more wisely. It was decided to replace the ice rink and install a new, bigger rink in a new plaza location out of the way of the stage that could also double as a nice space in the summer. A new two-story support building was planned to provide nice, bright, clean restrooms using water-efficient plumbing fixtures. The Zamboni storage and concessions would get new spaces in this building. The second floor became a gorgeous reception space with see thru visibility to 1st south, thereby insuring the new building did not close in the plaza, but kept it open and inviting.

To compliment this artistic building, a highly-efficient mechanical system was provided. VBFA’s expertise in energy-efficient mechanical systems design was put to work on developing an affordable, cost-effective sustainable design. The project was just recently awarded LEED Gold.

The primary air handling system is a very energy-efficient three-stage cooling, variable-volume air handling system. The air handler is also equipped with demand-controlled ventilation as another energy saving feature. The building heating is provided by a highly efficient, sealed combustion, condensing boiler and hot water loop.

A new ice refrigeration plant was provided for the new ice rink. The ice plant includes a highly efficient water cooled chiller and uses environmentally friendly R-134a refrigerant and calcium chloride brine as a secondary coolant.


Grand Canyon University has been a premier private college located in Phoenix, Arizona since 1949. We provided mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering services for the new 55,000 sq. ft. recreation center located on campus. The new facility provides 3 NBA sized basketball courts for the students and for their basketball team. It also includes weight and athletic training rooms, aerobics rooms and classrooms as well as facilities for their dance and cheer squads.