Big checks for big building

Big checks for big building
Artist rendition of the proposed Science Building. Courtesy of UVU.edu
Artist rendition of the proposed Science Building. Courtesy of UVU.edu

I’ve heard there are some pretty big checks hanging on the wall of President Holland’s office, and now having seen the checks with my own two eyes, let me tell you: they’re pretty awesome.

Prior to discussing the proposed new science building (and the big checks, donated from local hospitals among other organizations for that building), I was skeptical. As an English major, my classmates and I are often shuttled up to the GT/Sparks Automotive area of campus, which is literally just about as far as you can get from home base in the Liberal Arts building. We definitely need some new space.

I hold an obvious bias toward my own major, of course – since most of us are asthmatic nerds not predisposed to physical activity of any kind, let alone extended bouts of walking. So the idea of an additional science building seemed like an arbitrary grab at some educational legitimacy founded on the frequent misunderstanding that so-called “soft sciences” aren’t as important as pre-dental or marine biology or what have you.

So why a new science building?

Holland cited the need for additional labs. The Pope Science Building was built several decades ago, when our school boasted a meager 8,000 students, as opposed to our current 20,000-plus enrollment figures, and the vast majority of those students need to take at least one science class, including my fellow wheezy-lunged English majors. It would certainly be hypocritical for me to whine about having to take an Early American Lit survey next to the Sparks Automotive body shop while not saying the same about a bio major having to take Biological Anthropology in the Liberal Arts building.

Another concern is the thought put into the administration and legislature’s priorities for UVU. If a new science building is first priority, what’s next? Holland’s off-the-cuff list: new science building, a fine arts center, a business building, a classroom building, and expansion to the new MBA program.

However, despite the massive checks and the contributions that they represent, there’s still a long way to go. So far, $1 million has been raised for the new building, and the minimum target for the building is between $2 and $3 million. Holland is optimistic about the remainder of the funds arriving – hopefully within the next month. He recognizes that the goal is an “ambitious” one, and cites “vexing political dynamics” as one of the contributing hold-ups, but even so, it’s hard to deny that the sheer willpower being dedicated to this cause will be a big help.

All in all, I’d rather have a new liberal arts building, or more funding pushed toward research resources at our fancy-pants new library, or any number of other things more suited to my narrow idea of what we need. But that’s probably one of the several handfuls of reasons I’m not the president of an exponentially expanding state university.

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