UVU breaks ground on $45M science building

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OREM -- Utah Valley University broke ground on a new science building for the campus. It will add many more classrooms to a campus where enrollment keeps rising.

Utah Valley Univ. Science Building
  • $45 million cost
  • 160,000 square feet
  • Includes:
    • 27 labs
    • 12 state-of-the-art classrooms
    • 400-seat auditorium
  • Projected completion: Spring 2012

When finished, the new state-of-the-art structure will be a three-story stainless steel and glass building and will become home to classes such as biology, physics, anatomy and earth science. It will include 12 classrooms, 27 labs and a 400-seat auditorium, which will become the largest on the UVU campus.

"We have some of the best faculty in the country and our students are getting better every year, but we now have facilities worthy of our university designation," said UVU President Matthew Holland. "We'll have classroom space, lab space and faculty office space. It will only enhance our reputation."

State lawmakers approved the $45 million needed for the building in the spring. The facility is one of a half-dozen buildings funded through a diversion of $113 million for scheduled roadwork and an $89 million bond.

Friday, state leaders joined with university officials to break ground on the building, which will be located between the Physical Education building and Sorensen Student Center on campus.

Artist's rendering of the new Utah Valley University science building.
Artist's rendering of the new Utah Valley University science building.

Gov. Gary Herbert touted the new building as an example of the state's commitment to education, which the governor believes will result in improving the economy.

"We cannot have in Utah long-term sustainable economic viability if we do not have a robust education program, and so we're doing our best to bring people together to see how we can do things in a better way to raise the bar for education," Herbert said.

UVU's enrollment has grown much faster than the campus in the past decade. Record enrollment growth has made UVU the second-largest public university in Utah, but the university serves that burgeoning student body with the fewest square feet per student among all Utah System of Higher Education institutions. This fall enrollment is expected to approach 30,000 students. UVU will need an additional 313,391 square feet by 2015 to handle its growth.

UVU's current science building was constructed when the entire institution had only 8,000 students; today, there are more than 20,000 students taking courses in the building every semester.

Construction on the new building should take about a year and a half. It is expected to be open to students sometime in early 2012.

E-mail: spenrod@ksl.com

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