UVU asks Legislature for money for new business building

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Utah Valley University is the largest university in Utah. (Photo by UVU Photo)

For the second year, Utah Valley University is asking the state for money for a new building for the Woodbury School of Business. But unlike last year, the school only is asking for funding for design and programming, not construction.

The construction project is ranked third on the state Board of Regents’s capital facilities priorities for 2018. The plan calls for a 178,000-square-foot building that will cost $71 million. But this year the school is asking for $1.75 million.

“I’m very aware of the challenges in funding for the state this year,” UVU President Matthew Holland told members of the Infrastructure and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee on Monday. … “So at this point all we’re asking for is design and programming funds and to move forward with design at this stage.”

Weber State University’s Noorda Engineering Building is ranked first on the Regents’s priorities. A science, engineering and technology building at Dixie State University is ranked No. 2.

UVU has raised $10 million toward the new Woodbury building so far, Holland said. “It’s been a significant effort for us, and we’re not stopping on that.”

The current 78,000-square-foot business building was one of the first on campus, and is more than 40 years old. Because of the age and type of construction, it’s difficult to renovate or add technology to the structure, Holland said. With more than 5,000 students in the Woodbury School of Business, the building has dangerously crowded hallways. It’s also got problems with bathrooms.

Also, the school of business is one of the fastest growing at the university, which is one of the fastest growing in the state. According to the latest numbers from the Utah System of Higher Education, UVU has the most students of any public higher education institution in the state, at 37,282. It also grew 6.59 percent between 2016 and 2017. The University of Utah has the next highest number of students at 32,800, and grew 2.3 percent. Only Dixie State University had a higher growth rate, at 7.56 percent with 9,673 students in 2017.

Holland said the school plans to make the new building energy efficient with geothermal heating and a focus on energy-efficient construction.

And though UVU needs a new building to house its business school, it won’t demolish the existing structure. It will continue using the old building for other needs, said Holland and Rep. Val Peterson, R-Orem, and UVU’s vice president of finance and administration.

Last year UVU requested $69 million for the project, which the Board of Regents ranked fifth for 2017 priorities. And though it didn’t get funding for this project in 2017, the state appropriated money for a pedestrian bridge. It will connect the Orem FrontRunner stop with the main UVU campus. And in 2016, the state Legislature appropriated $32 million for the Noorda Center for the Performing Arts. The performing arts building is under construction.

The state Legislature session ends March 8.

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Amie Rose has more than 14 years of experience writing and editing at newspapers in Utah and New Mexico. She graduated from BYU with a degree in journalism. She lives in Utah Valley with her husband, toddler and crazy dog.

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