Sounds of the Salt Palace

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photo credit: Jacob Bilich

SALT LAKE CITY – When you walk through the main entrance to the Salt Palace convention center you might be startled by a wooden bonking sound.

Be sure to look up.

Above your head are eleven wooden chimes (twelve should be there but one is missing). Windmills high in front of the building on West Temple Street drive the chimes. Each chime has a different tone.

The chimes were made by artist Patrick Zentz, a Montana rancher, and installed in 1996. The windmills produce an electric current that powers each chime.

Zentz’s chimes are among the dozens of art installations in the Salt Palace. When you need a break from the business of General Convention, go explore. But be sure to take your map. Deputies and alternates will find a small fold-up map of the Salt Palace tucked into their credential neck carrier. You will need it.

photo credit: Jacob Bilich

The convention is enormous – 515,000 square feet – taking up five city blocks. The convention center is a labyrinth of staircases, hallways, escalators, and meeting rooms. Visitors whose mobility is impaired can rent a scooter to get around.

The Church Pension Group is taking advantage of the size of the building to promote health and physical fitness. Its pamphlet, “Steps to Wellness,” notes that taking a walk around the circumference of the Salt Palace is 1.17 miles. “Get moving!” the pamphlet implores.

The Salt Palace is “green,” receiving a silver level LEED certification for environmental friendliness and efficiency. The rooftop has solar panels providing 1.59 megawatts of electricity. And if you get hungry there are several food concessioners inside the Salt Palace and numerous restaurants within a few blocks.

The Rev. James Richardson, an alternate deputy from the Diocese of Virginia, was previously a reporter for the Sacramento Bee. He is the rector of St. Paul’s Memorial Church in Charlottesville.