In my work as a photographer, I’ve had my eyes opened to the enormous amount of good that people in our community do for others. This is the case when I made photographs of what is known in the Wasatch Back as the Zebra House because of the exotic animals once roaming the grounds.

Located off an access road into Park City, the home has been completely renovated to meet commercial building standards with ADA compliance, a sprinkling system, elevator, and redesign of the floor plan to become the Friends of Solomon Children’s Justice Center in Summit County. Elliott Workgroup is the architect with construction credits going to New Star and Blackdog Builders. The driving force is the non-profit group Friends of the Children’s Justice Center of Summit County, which conducted a major $2.8 million capital campaign and oversaw design and construction.

Above is the new entrance, located in what had been a garage. Offices for professionals flank the door, and the waiting area features a play area and an overstuffed leather sectional.

You might find, as I did, the statistics that document the need for a facility like this disturbing. In Utah, one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually molested before the age of 18. The facility functions so that a team of detectives, case workers, prosecutors, advocates, medical staff, and trauma-trained therapists provide services in a system designed to not further traumatize.

This sitting area functions as a small conference space and for a waiting area for the clinical examination room to the right. The bathrooms are all ADA compliant. The blue shiplapped wall is the side of the elevator, and the zebra artwork gives credit to some of the donors while referencing the zebras that once grazed on the property.

Looking abstractly up the stairway is a reclaimed timber support beam original to the home and a reclaimed lumber ceiling, part of the update. Upstairs are two private interview rooms for the child and forensic interviewer that are equipped with cameras to record the interview. This allows law enforcement and other professionals to benefit from the interview and not subject the child to repeated questioning.

This downstairs kitchen area is adjacent to the training area. On the middle level is another similar kitchen stocked with snacks for clients and families.

Three floors combine for a soothing environment with efficiencies for professionals. I understand that facilities like this were innovated only about 25 years ago and that Utah has been in the forefront to establish and support them. You can make donations to non-profit groups to support this center as well as others throughout the State, or better yet, get involved.

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