Utah Valley University is hoping to give some students a more hands-on learning experience by opening a classroom inside Capitol Reef National Park.
The field station, as they call it, is located within the park at the site of a historic guest ranch operation. It was built to be as environmentally friendly as possible to the national park around it. It includes a hybrid solar panel and propane generator for power. And it has a dormitory to house 24 students out studying the desert ecosystem.
"Basically any student in the sciences will be able to benefit from this," said UVU spokesperson Chris Taylor.
He says the school has been working to get this center since the year 2000. Taylor says to his knowledge it's the only year-round, university-operated field station in a national park in the country.
UVU quoted Park Superintendent Al Hendricks as saying, "Using the field station for educational programs will provide opportunities for in-depth, first hand learning experiences where the topics being discussed can be witnessed in a natural setting, rather than simply in a textbook."