The smell of freshly overturned dirt and the roar of construction equipment were the physical signs that the dream of expansion in the Science and Health department is finally becoming a reality.
On Aug. 6, alumni, administrators, city officials and eager students gathered for the groundbreaking of the new science building. Big-D Construction of Salt Lake City was awarded the construction contract for the building and the anticipated completion date is set for the spring of 2012.
When the current Pope science building was completed in 1987, this institution only had 8,000 students. Today that number is nearing 30,000, and the Science and Health department in particular has grown tremendously through those years. The new building will feature 27 labs and 12 state-of-the-art classrooms to accommodate the growth.
“The students that have had to cram into tiny labratories, perform research in pseudo-closets or stuff into overfilled lectures have felt this growing pain,” said Richard Portwood, student body president. “These same fine students with the faculty, the staff and administration have put in numerous hours and have given tremendous and extraordinary efforts to make this new building possible.”
In addition to the labs and classrooms, the new building will also house a 400-seat auditorium that will allow for large events and, more importantly, provide a place for larger scale instruction. Many of those who have worked to make this building possible, however, will not have the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
“The greatest part of these efforts were the students’ dedication to the college of Science and Health’s future students,” said Christopher Lane, last year’s College of Science and Health student senator. “My committee was made up of juniors and seniors. We will never get to use the science building for classes or research, but that didn’t keep us from trying. This building is for the tens of thousands of future scientists and health professionals that UVU will produce.”
“The state really looks at this program as critical to our future and more importantly as a reflection of the quality that had been built here over a period of time,” said William Sederburg, Utah’s commissioner of higher education
Many who attended the groundbreaking praised the progression and development of this university and more specifically the Science department and they see the building of this new science building as a stepping stone to the future of this fine institution.
“This is a work in progress. I don’t suspect this is the end; it’s only the beginning, there is more to be done here at Utah Valley University which is going to be of significant contribution to the great state of Utah,” said Governor Herbert.