New pharmaceutical building digs up last accessible land

Citizens and environmentalists appealed the U’s decision on expanding Research Park into some of the last easily accessible open space which secures wildlife and oak forest.

Thirty-two acres of natural land located on the eastern edge of Research Park will become the new NPS Pharmaceutical building’s turf.

Citizens were allowed to voice their concerns Wednesday night at the public forum held in the Turpin Building.

According to Utah resident Cheryl Manning, the land acts as a buffer for wildlife, is habitat for the state flower (the Sego Lily,) and provides a nearby escape for people in need of open and natural space.

“[Developing the land] will have a significant visual impact on the environment,” said resident Warren Owens.

The new building will cover 90,000 square feet, be three stories tall, and will allow room for 270 employees.

Director of Research Park Charles Evans said the new building will co-exist with the natural landscape and very little sod will be put in.

According to developers, the road will be grounded along with the native plants and the irrigation planted will blend with the natural vegetation.

Evans said the U realizes that people frequently use the Shorleline nature trail, located just above the open space, and will ask the architect to keep noise from the pharmaceutical building at a minimal level.

“[Research Park] wants to keep this as positive of an experience as possible,” Evans said.

The debate over the open space began in 1996 when the Museum of Natural History and the Hansen Planetarium looked to relocate to the open space.

Manning and other residents started a petition that has gained more than 2,000 signatures to preserve the land in an attempt to stop development of the landscape in 1996.

Eight years later, the decision was made to use the open space for a new pharmaceutical building and possibly the Museum of Natural History.

Parking for the NPS Pharmaceutical building will be approximately the same size as the Huntsman Cancer Institute’s parking lot.A few of the citizens said the parking space will be too large and unnecessary.

“I don’t believe that,” said Evans. “People are parking on the streets.”

Construction of the NPS building is scheduled for completion in January 2005.

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