The transition from “status to stature” fueled the first Dixie State University board of trustees meeting of the academic year.
The meeting, held in the Zion Room in Jeffrey R. Holland Centennial Commons, provided a platform for trustees, faculty and staff and administration members to discuss DSU’s current and future issues. A new physical education and student wellness building, additional campus housing and the state of student involvement took a large portion of the board’s docket.
DSU President Biff Williams discussed the ongoing process of planning and acquiring funding for the proposed physical education and wellness center near Hansen Stadium. The benefits of the addition go even beyond the classroom, he said.
“We have a very robust intramural program,” Williams said. “Over 80 percent of our students are active, but we have just one gymnasium. For a student body of 8,500-plus, we don’t have the resources necessary to attract students or retain students.”
The proposed building would house student service aspects of DSU, he said, and would provide resources for undergraduate exercise science opportunities. Adding to physical fitness-oriented offerings also reaps other benefits, Williams said.
“I’ve been at other institutions where we had 400-plus students involved in these programs, and they came from all over the place,” he said. “And it’s a good recruiter because most high school students are active and want to be active, so that gets students on campus.”
The board of regents recently ranked DSU’s potential health science addition sixth out of nine projects from Utah institutions. Because of this, Williams said pursuing the project won’t happen immediately, but administration and faculty and staff can fully develop the idea in the mean time.
At the meeting, Paul Morris, vice president of administrative services, gave current information on the state of DSU student housing. Morris said current on-campus housing accommodates 351 students. Because DSU’s student population is more than 8,000, housing options must be bolstered. A multiple story on-campus student housing facility is crucial, he said.
With an estimated cost of $21.5 million, the facility, located between Nisson Tower dormitories and the Science Building, would provide beds for 350 students, include two bathrooms in each suite, and improved opportunities for student leisure would be on the horizon upon the project’s completion, Morris said. Funding for new housing would come from the auxiliary services revenue bond, institutional development (or donations) and institutional non-appropriated plant funds.
After Morris’ presentation, the board voted unanimously to approve the housing project. Its approval is a multi-step process, and the board of regents will vote next.
Newly sworn-in trustee, Gregory J. Layton, a senior English major from Cottonwood Heights and student body president, gave a run-down of student involvement. Layton said an active freshman class continually increases event attendance and overall involvement.
“I love the freshman class,” he said. “[The freshmen] have made this experience phenomenal so far.”
Layton said overall numbers in student government members, DSUSA-sponsored service projects and passed senate bills have grown each year since 2011. DSU students involved in student government sits at more than 80 members, with 38 receiving stipends, he said.
The board of trustees meets again Nov. 21.