12 new reasons to say “That’s Cool” about Utah Valley, as shared at 2016 Executive Summit

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Steve Smoot, vice president of Intermountain Healthcare's South Region, speaks at the 25th Annual Executive Summit. (Photo by Matt Bennett/UV360)

Steve Smoot, vice president of Intermountain Healthcare’s South Region, speaks at the 25th Annual Executive Summit. (Photo by Matt Bennett/UV360)

Utah County’s business leaders met Wednesday at the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce’s 25th Annual Executive Summit at Sundance Resort to report on the state of Utah County.

Using the theme, “Rise to the Challenge,” the group shared progress on developments and projects in Utah County. Natalie Gochnour, director of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, pointed out that Utah County’s development has been keeping up with Salt Lake. Since 2010, Lehi City’s commercial building has constructed $336 million worth of buildings while Salt Lake has constructed $395 million worth of buildings during the same time period.

Here are 12 changes coming to Utah Valley as shared at the 2016 Executive Summit:

Red lights and green lights

Something Utah residents may not have noticed is that they are spending less time at red lights, according to Carlos Braceras, executive director of the Utah Department of Transportation. UDOT has been timing and adjusting lights so Utahns only hit a red light about 20 percent of the time.

More I-15 construction

Braceras also said the  I-15 interchange at Thanksgiving Point is scheduled to be rebuilt starting 2020. It should be finished by 2023.

Spanish Fork’s new hospital

Spanish Fork’s first hospital will be built by the Wal-Mart located at Canyon Creek Pkwy, according to Steve Smoot, vice president of Intermountain Healthcare’s South Region. The 173,00- square-foot hospital will have 30 beds (16 medical/surgery and 12 labor and delivery), four ORs, 10 ED bays, two endoscopy suites and space for physical therapy and rehab.  Smoot anticipates the groundbreaking in 2018 with an estimated completion in 2020.

(Photo by Rebecca Lane/UV360)

Construction workers secure beams on the Patient Tower at Utah Valley Hospital. (Photo by Rebecca Lane/UV360)

Not UVRMC, it’s Utah Valley Hospital

Smoot pointed out that the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center changed its named earlier in 2016 to Utah Valley Hospital. The hospital is continuing with construction including the 12-floor Patient Tower. The hospital will be completed in 2018. UVH is adding a healing pond on its campus.

Increase in Chinese tourists

Utah has seen an increase in Chinese tourists, according to Joel Racker, CEO of the Utah Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau. In 2014, Utah had a 53 percent increase in Chinese tourists to Utah. Racker pointed out that Temple Square has requested 24 Mandarin Chinese sister speakers. He added that part of the growth of Chinese tourists can be attributed to the expanding Chinese middle class.

BYU: Renovations needed

In April, BYU purchased Provo High School’s property, 25-acres of land for $25 million, but BYU President Kevin Worthen says the school still hasn’t decided what to do with the property. After talking about BYU’s property growth, Worthen expressed how the school desperately needs to renovate the Harris Fine Arts Center, home to the theater and music students.

He decidedly said he would not comment on the Big 12 expansion.

UVU: A groundbreaking school

Over the past year, UVU has broken ground on multiple buildings including the Center for Autism and basketball practice facility. UVU President Matt Holland announced the school would break ground on the performing arts building at the beginning of November or December.

Outside of growth and groundbreakings, Holland said the Roots of Knowledge — a glass art piece that will displayed in UVU’s library — will be unveiled on Nov. 18. The 80-panel display shares the history of knowledge in the world. Highland’s Tom Holdman conceived the idea for Roots of Knowledge 12 years ago.

Developing more memory for technology

IM Flash co-Executive Officer Bert Blaha says new memory technology 3D XP is going to be huge. IM Flash has developed the longer memory technology and Blaha says they are close to working out the kinks. The 3D XP will have a dramatic effect on technology and IM Flash in general. The new memory is to be built in the Intel Micron Flash building in Lehi.

Young Living’s new campus

Young Living, the first essential oils company in Utah County, is building a campus just north of Lehi Block.

Plumtree Plaza will be demolished and reconstructed in 2017. (Photo by Rebecca Lane/UV360)

Plumtree Plaza will be demolished and reconstructed in 2017. (Photo by Rebecca Lane/UV360)

Plumtree Plaza plans

In May, Provo city announced that Plumtree Plaza would be reconstructed. The new development now has a name — The Mix at Rivers Edge. Brandon Fugal, co-founder of CBC Advisors, said the redevelopment of Plumtree Plaza has been a long time coming.

University Place construction

Since University Place broke ground in February 2015, it has added multiple restaurants and opened a new office building. Fugal said they soon will begin construction on another 9-story building similar to the one at State and University Parkway. University Place is opening The Orchard, a new park, on Oct. 3; it is holding multiple free events to celebrate the opening throughout the week.

Call for manufacturing businesses

Fugal suggested that Utah County needs more manufacturing businesses to achieve more balance, and he challenged Utah County leaders to make that happen.

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