$20 million in private funds announced for new arts building

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Photo credit: Collin Cooper | Photo Senior Staff | @coop.97

President Holland announced Feb. 3 that the school has raised $20 million in private funding to build the new center of the arts building that was proposed in 2014.

The initiative began with the goal of raising $15 million. Through the generosity of the Ray and Tye Noorda Foundation, and 1,770 other donors, the school has managed to exceed that goal by $5 million.

“Utah Valley University has already proven what they can do with our starter gift,” said Andy Noorda. He said it wasn’t a tough decision to give the money.

According to a written statement from the school more than 8,000 UVU students take at least one arts course each semester.

Holland said that an education in the arts is vital to a serious education.

“It’s the missing piece on this campus as a university,” Holland said. “Now it looks like a distinct possibility.”

Newell Dayley, dean of the School of the Arts said, “This will be the kind of facility that will allow students to test themselves.”

The School of the Arts has been outgrowing its current space in the Gunther Trades Building.

“I have a lot of friends in the music program. A lot of times they end up practicing in the hallway or down by the stairs,” said Xela Wright, a biotech student who is minoring in the arts.   

Music student, Eleasah Halsmer said she’s excited about having more space. Currently, she practices in a windowless concrete room barely big enough for two baby grand pianos and a few students.

The new building will feature a concert hall, a proscenium theatre with a 500-seat capacity, and upgraded teaching facilities.

UVU plans to request an additional $30 million from the Utah Legislature, which is now in session, to complete the project.

“We believe this sends a strong message to the State about what a needed and important priority this is, not just for the Utah Valley community, but beyond,” said Holland.

In addition to providing an upgraded space for arts students, the new building will allow the university to expand the arts into the broader the community.

The building will become the Utah Valley home for the Utah Symphony, which Holland said, “will bring an exciting new element of the arts to the valley.”