At the conclusion of the 2016 legislative session the $32 million dollars needed for the arts building was approved by the legislature. UVU will receive money for the building over the next two years. Architectural plans will be completed this fall and the groundbreaking for the facility is projected to happen in November.
“We believe this exciting announcement solidifies just how important the arts are to the community and state,” said UVU President Matthew Holland in a written statement. “This is a crucial piece in providing a full university experience and atmosphere. Among other things, exposure to the arts inculcates the dynamism and excellence increasingly required of our students.”
The new building was one of only four buildings approved by the legislature for the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE). The building will be 140,000-square-feet and include a concert hall (900 seats), a proscenium theater (501 seats), music recital, lecture hall (150 seats), dance recital hall (150 seats, an atrium and hosting space, 40 offices and 23 labs.
“I am just so excited about the possibilities and what the new era is going to be,” said Traci Hainsworth, events manager for the School of the Arts. “To finally have the facilities for the concerts and the plays and not have to compete for the space anymore, the Ragan and the Ballroom, I cannot wait.”
Currently Arts student have class in repurposed space within the Gunther Trades building. There are currently more than 1,500 arts majors, the second largest in USHE, and according to the university 8,000 students take at least one arts course each semester.
“We are getting a huge amount of students,” said Michele Howarth, a vocal performance major. “I think this last year specifically we had so many new vocal students come in that they literally could not find space and teachers enough for all of them. So they’re teaching them on Saturdays and they’re teaching them in any room they can find in any nearby building.”
It is projected that use of the facility will begin in Fall 2018.
“My understanding is that it has been talked about and anticipated for almost 22 years and to know that it is no longer a dream, it is going to be a reality, we are just so excited,” said Hainsworth.
The university raised $20 million dollars for the building in 18 months. The venue will serve as a venue for Utah Symphony performances in Utah County.
Architectural rendering courtesy UVU marketing
The article was updated to correctly reflect that Michele Howarth is a vocal performance major.