Dixie Applied Technology College breaks ground on new campus

ST. GEORGE – Dixie Applied Technology College broke ground Thursday on a new building at the Ridge Top Complex on South Airport Road in St. George that will allow all of the college’s programs to be housed under one roof.

An architectural rendering of DXATC's new building at the Ridge Top Complex | Image courtesy of DXATC
An architectural rendering of DXATC’s new building at the Ridge Top Complex | Image courtesy of DXATC, St. George News

“We needed a permanent campus,” DXATC President Kelle Stephens said. “We are so happy to break ground today for our permanent campus.”

DXATC does a lot of highly technical training, “super-important tech,” Stephens said. “Twenty years from now we’ll be offering training in areas that haven’t even been thought of yet,” she said, noting these will be in addition to traditional professional training the college offers such as plumbing and electrical that will always be needed.

The campus has been a long time coming, Richard VanAusdal, the first DXATC president, said. The college has operated out of leased space scattered around the area ever since DXATC’s beginning in 2001.

“When we started, the first year, we had 26 adult students and about 200 high school students,” VanAusdal said.

The college opened in 2001 and rented space around town and shared space with a high school.

A groundbreaking Thursday celebrated the construction of a new building that will house all of Dixie Applied Technology College programs under one roof at the Ridge Top Complex, St. George, Utah, Jan. 14, 2016 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News
A groundbreaking Thursday celebrated the construction of a new building that will house all of Dixie Applied Technology College programs under one roof at the Ridge Top Complex on South Airport Road, St. George, Utah, Jan. 14, 2016 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News

“Each year we’d add a little bit more, and finally, we were able to get that new campus over at Tonaquint. That was a big interim step, and that’s when we started working on this project up here,” VanAusdal said. “It was a dream, and now the dream’s come true.”

The project is being built on a 30-acre piece of land owned by the college in the Ridge Top Complex just north of the old Skywest Airlines terminal, which is now DXATC’s Emergency Response Training Center.

The building is planned to be 177,000 square feet and include both a professional wing and an industrial wing.

The estimated  price tag for the new facility is $44.9 million. With state funding of $31.9 million, DXATC must cover the remaining $13 million. DXATC board member Stephen Wade has accepted responsibility for heading up fundraising efforts, Stephens said in an earlier interview. Washington County has committed to an $8 million bond, leaving $5 million to be raised privately. Of that, $1 million has been raised so far.


Read more: DXATC plans new campus, gets $31 million in funding from Legislature


“That’s a big task and there’s a lot of people with their hands out in this community,” Wade said of the fundraising, “but I hope you’ll start to see the value of this. It’s the rockbed of our community for the young men and young women who are so desirous to improve their lives but need help, and this kind of education and a facility like this.”

The groundbreaking was well attended by local dignitaries and members of the Utah State Legislature; the crowd included Washington County commissioners and mayors and council members from most of the communities in the county.

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Email: japplegate@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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