UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | November 07, 2022

New Utah Tech student center

New Utah Tech University’s student center was announced and will be built on campus in the future. Misha Mosiichuk | Sun News Daily

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A new student center is in the works for the future student body at Utah Tech University.

The new building will be funded by an increase in student fees, donations, including $5 million dollars from the Marc C. & Deborah H. Bingham Foundation, bonds and state money. 

“The state of the university wouldn’t be the state of the university without some big announcement,” President ‘Biff’ Williams said during the 2021-2022 State of the University Address.

Williams acknowledged the increase in enrollment numbers and the need for a facility that better fits the growing student population’s needs. The new student center is proposed to be a 100 thousand square foot building that will cost around $70 million.

“We know that the Gardner Center has served our students well, but it’s much too small to provide the eating area, the meeting space and the types of resources they need,” Williams said.

Marc C. & Deborah H. Bingham Foundation donation

The Marc C. & Deborah H. Bingham Foundation donated $5 million toward the new student center and will help Utah Tech raise the needed $10 million from donations.

Paul Morris, vice president of administrative affairs, made a detailed financial plan for the new building. The components that go into the funding are donations, student fees, bonds and S.B. 102 state money.

“There will be an additional student fee if we are able to build this building,” said Brad Last, vice president of advancement/ development. “Part of that is going to be due to the fact that students are willing to accept a higher fee for buildings on campus.”

“Please know that we dearly love the people of this community,” said board member Robert Behunin during the 2021-2022 State of the University Address. “As a board and as a foundation, we are pleased to have been working with the St. George community for a very long time and we want to continue working with you…” 

The foundation’s mission statement aims to advance higher education opportunities for the average citizen.

“You have my personal commitment to help you see this project through for all of us so our students can have a space, but more importantly a place to collaborate and engage, to be happy and well, and to innovate, and president, to keep blazing new trails,” Behunin said.

Completion timeline

Last said the earliest the building process could start for the new student center would be the summer of 2026. 

A new building would be built rather than renovating the current student center, the location is not yet determined. The Gardner Center will be repurposed after the completion of the new student center. 

According to Last, the 2026 projection date is based on the time needed to raise the required funds and three years of S.B. 102 money.

Uses

“We are one of the fastest growing schools, and there is so much excitement and momentum here right now with the name change and our new focus,” said Del Beatty, vice president of student affairs. “We have to do it to remain competitive.”

When the building was first built, the institution had a student body of fewer than 3,000 people. Utah Tech now serves over 11,000 students.

The new student center is projected to have a reflection space, food pantry, veterans resource center, food service options, space for student government officers and more.

The building process of the new student building will depend on how long it takes to secure the funds and when the design and architectural phase is complete.