In 2003, Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson proposed the creation of the Unity Center to provide services, programming, and recreation facilities to the City’s low-income Glendale area. The Salt Lake City Council approved plans for the project, and the Salt Lake City Foundation acted as the conduit for the funds. In 2006, USBCDE LLC provided a $6.7 million NMTC loan to help construct the Sorenson Unity Center.
The Sorenson Unity Center was completed in 2007 on four acres of land donated by James Sorenson, a Utah businessman, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints. It was the first new construction project that had taken place in the Glendale neighborhood in more than 20 years and, since the center opened, has spurred much needed additional development in the area. Constructed as a LEED-certified facility, the Unity Center is a one-story, 26,500 square foot facility that contains a health center, a performance and reception area, gallery space, and flexible rental space for various community uses. In addition, the facility provides vocational and technical training through Salt Lake City Community College for educationally, socially, and or economically disadvantaged individuals, provides full-service dental treatment through Salt
Lake City Donated Dentist Services (SLDDS), and a provides a Computer Center, which offers 14 personal computers, scanners, and laser printers.
The Skills Center, located within the Sorenson Unity Center, offers courses along with intensive student support services, preparing students to be more effective within the circumstances of their lives and work. SLDDS provides on-site dental treatment for those with no other access to dental care; 45 percent of their patients are homeless and 44 percent fall below the federal poverty line. In partnership with Intel Corporation and the Boston Museum of Science, neighborhood youth can get assistance in the Computer Clubhouse, an afterschool program in the Computer Center that focuses on art, science, education, and technology.