The new science building’s road to approval

The recent approval of the new science and health building was met with great excitement by many at UVU. The approval allocates $45 million to UVU for the building project.

Heavy involvement and lobbying on Capitol Hill proved to be a success at the end of a long struggle. A few trades were made in order to push the project through, one of which being construction on Geneva Road which will now be postponed a year to make room in the state’s budget. In an interview, Sam Rushforth, Dean of the College of Science and Health, expressed gratitude to university President Matthew Holland and Val Peterson for being the main men at the Capitol.

The legislature chooses which projects will be funded based on a point system involving three categories: need, health, safety, and fundraising. UVU, being a new establishment, scores very low on health and safety, but has been the highest on the need list for the last six years. This year the science and health building had double the need points than its next competitor.

Fundraising paid a legitimate role as well. UVUSA sponsored and co-sponsored a variety of events such as “Haircuts for Science” and “Soles for Science.” The young age of the university put UVU at a disadvantage when it came to raising money from alumni. “We just don’t have the alumni base out there yet,” said David Jordan, assistant dean of the College of Science and Health. UVU did manage a few instrumental donations from supportive alumni such as the $1 million match from the Bingham family.

The state granted UVU $2.8 million last year to get a jump on the planning stages. A lot of cutbacks were needed in order to bring the project closer to the $45 million mark, and more donations are needed to help cover the difference. The state of the economy brings a unique advantage as far as costs go. “Construction costs are as low as they are ever going to be,” said Jordan. “Construction companies are in strong need for work at the moment so their bids are going to be very competitive.”

The tentative schedule of operations began March 29 with bids already being accepted. Meetings with bidders will continue through May 12 with all questions and concerns being answered in early May. The construction companies with the best bids will be interviewed on May 19 and the announcement will be made on May 20. The groundbreaking will be early to mid-June. The new science and health building is predicted to be complete on December 31, 2011.

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