DSU athletics’ move to RMAC announced at board of trustees meeting

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The Dixie State University board of trustees unanimously green-lit the Human Performance Building and additional funds for Legend Solar Stadium Friday.

The board of trustees met in the Cottam Room of the Gardner Student Center to discuss new changes coming to DSU. President Biff Williams, Student Body President Sarah Ramaker, and other DSU representatives also presented their successes and goals to the board to kick off the meeting.  

Athletic conference move

Athletic Director Jason Boothe announced the DSU athletic department’s plan to apply for full membership in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference for the 2018-19 seasons at the meeting. The football team made the jump to the RMAC from the Pacific West Conference in July, but Boothe said this new change will affect all DSU sports. 

Nothing is yet official for the conference change. Boothe said RMAC officials will vote on DSU’s application by the end of October, but Boothe said he is “confident” the RMAC will accept DSU. 

“[The RMAC] is a highly competitive program,” said David Clark, board of trustees chair. “We’ll be looking more east instead of west for most of our games.”

The board of trustees did not vote on the application to move to the RMAC because a Conference Affiliation Task Force, made up of DSU officials including Boothe and other faculty members, already finalized their decision and Williams approved the motion. Boothe said the task force looked at the pros and cons of moving to the new conference before making their decision.

“Choosing between the [RMAC] and PacWest Conference had nothing to do about the quality of the conferences,” Boothe said. “We’ve been happy with the PacWest Conference.”

Boothe said the conference move will potentially reduce costs and travel times, as most of the RMAC colleges are in Colorado. However, moving to the RMAC may still allow non-conference games in California against PacWest schools, Boothe said.  

Building and funds approvals

The board of trustees unanimously approved an additional $8.6 million to be allocated to Legend Solar Stadium to help with renovations. 

$10 million was donated by Legend Solar in May to help kickoff the stadium upgrade project, which will eventually include improved grandstands and locker rooms, 5,000 additional seats on the east side of the stadium, and a new track. The board also was unanimously in favor of the plans for the Human Performance Building, a $50 million dollar health and recreation building to be built at DSU. 

Sherry Ruesch, executive director of facilities management, presented the most up-to-date plans of the Human Performance Building. She said the original planned location of the Human Performance Building of the current tennis courts was moved to the parking lot west of the Student Activity Center. Ruesch said parking won’t be lost, as the parking lot will replace the tennis courts and the tennis courts will move to the current location of East Elementary, which DSU purchased last year. 

Ruesch said the Human Performance Building is ranked second on the list of priority buildings for the state legislature to fund. She said her goal is to show the legislature what the need is for the Human Performance Building 

“We want to emphasize [the Human Performance Building] will be an academic building,” Ruesch said. “This is a building the students have made a priority as a recreation and health building, but there will also be a lot of classrooms in there.”

The board of trustees also unanimously approved the decision to change the name of the Multicultural Diversity Center to the Multicultural Inclusion Center to accommodate LGBTQ students

New academic programs

Michael Lacourse, vice president of academic affairs and provost, told the board of trustees new academic programs, including graduate programs, are coming to DSU soon.

Lacourse said the graduate programs DSU administrators are focusing on include education, computer science, genetic counseling and accounting. A new paralegal certificate was also recently approved for DSU. 

“We do better than anyone at converting students to graduate programs,” Lacourse said. “We just need to start offering these programs at DSU if we’re going to grow.”

The next board of trustees meeting will be Nov. 4 at 9 a.m. in the Zion Room of the Jeffrey R. Holland Centennial Commons.