Dixie State plans expansion, new facilities

FEATURE — A small junior college acquired 32 acres of alkali-heavy soil east of St. George 64 years ago. That institution has evolved into Dixie State University and now sits on a 100-acre campus that boasts beautiful buildings, neatly manicured landscapes, and an energetic student body. While the university has experienced a great deal of change in those 64 years, the institution is not content to let growth solely be part of its history.

In fact, Dixie State is planning for continued expansion — an important plan, considering that DSU has experienced a 60 percent increase in enrollment in the past five years and now has a student population that is nearly 9,000 strong.

Image of the new Burns addition to be completed August 2014, St. George, undated | Image courtesy of Jyl Hall, St. George News
Image of the new Burns addition to be completed August 2015, St. George, undated | Image courtesy of Jyl Hall, St. George News

To offer students the best education under the sun, DSU is taking steps toward adding new facilities to its campus. As part of this effort, crews are scheduled to break ground by the end of the year on the Burns Arena north office addition, Vice President of Administrative Services Paul Morris said. Slated for completion in August 2015, the two-story addition to the university’s basketball complex will house approximately 70 faculty and staff offices. The exterior of the entire building will be completed during the initial phase of construction, but the interior, which will be divided into four quadrants, will be only 25 percent complete as the university heads into the 2015-2016 academic year.

Just a short walk from the Burns Arena, the currently open space north of Hansen Stadium will become the home of the Physical Education and Student Wellness Center. The proposed $29 million facility will include specialized classrooms, clinic spaces, gymnasiums, and physical education labs needed to support future academic programs in health and human performance. The program accompanying this facility will offer tracks in education, kinesiology/exercise science, and health promotion and wellness.

Additionally, Dixie Regional Medical Center has agreed to extend and expand its sports medicine partnership with the university in conjunction with the completion of the Wellness Center.

To accommodate all the students eager to take advantage of Dixie State’s expanding academic offerings, the university has formed a task force to look into the future of on-campus student housing.

“New student housing is also a top priority,” Morris said. “We anticipate a new student housing facility located just west of the Nisson Towers that will provide a residential campus experience for an additional 350 to 400 students.”

The facility will likely feature three and four-bedroom suites that will each accommodate six and eight students, respectively. Additionally, the complex will foster student-life experiences for residents, possibly offering a fitness center, video and media room, activity center and study rooms.

The improvements to campus don’t end there. Once these buildings are completed, Vice President of Development Brad Last said, renovating the Science Building will likely be the next project the university will undertake.

In all these projects, the university’s goal is to ensure it has the resources and facilities necessary to engage students in activities that encourage educational and cultural experiences while promoting university retention, persistence to graduation, and preparation for employment.

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Written by Jyl Hall for St. George Health & Wellness magazine and St. George News.

Jyl Hall is a public relations/publications coordinator at Dixie State University. For more information about DSU, contact her at 435-652-7547 or by email.

 

 

St. George Health and Wellness website

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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7 Comments

  • Voice of Reason December 6, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    Campus housing? Please stop. Making it a 4 year university was one of the worst decisions the Board of Regents ever made. You’ve taken away the low cost, easy access of the community college and you’re trying to make it something it’s not.

  • coltenlouis December 7, 2014 at 9:21 am

    I am excited to see the progress DSU has made. Becoming a 4 year college and eventually obtaining university status was the BEST!!! I was able to get into dental school with no debt while receiving a high quality education. Hooray for Dixie!!!

  • VOICE OF CHANGE December 7, 2014 at 9:34 am

    I disagree with the voice of reason. One consistent theme I have heard is a continued commitment to open access and affordability. The continued expansion will benefit SG economically and the diversity of new degrees will mean more options for students. DSU will be a competitive regional university.

  • Joseph Smith December 7, 2014 at 9:37 am

    I realize what DSU is attempting to accomplish and I say. go for it best of luck.. but St George is just a college town and that is how the outsiders see it and that is just the way it’s going to be….

  • Just Wondering December 7, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    When you get your 29 million dollar wellness and extra housing completed, would you consider putting in a parking garage? It would have to be centrally located so students would use it. Tear down the old gym and build a very tall garage. The parking on 700 East and the side streets are a joke. It is very dangerous for anyone trying to pull out of the side streets. Where will the 350 – 400 students park? Most will have cars. Residents who live around the college can’t park in front of their own homes and have their driveways blocked now, because of the lack of on campus parking.

  • John Pike December 7, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    No problem just park your car on St George Blvd plenty of room there we will redesign the Blvd to a 2 lane road and take out the median
    Ed. note: This commenter is not the mayor of St. George.

  • Came here with Brigham December 7, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    Frankly, I’m very happy to see Dixie State University vibrant and expanding from the small community college with limited offerings for students. Parking? Yes that’s a challenge that must be met and I feel can be at least partially mitigated with the addition of diagonal parking on 4th South from 4th East to 7th East. Why hasn’t this been adopted previously as a solution to parking issues for the college is not understood by this citizen and alumnus.

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