Groundbreaking for $17M Business School project upcoming

Artist conception courtesy of Southern Utah University, St. George News

CEDAR CITY — A groundbreaking with full ceremony will be held Thursday morning for the new home of Southern Utah University’s School of Business, a $17 million project made possible in part through a $7.5 million gift in 2015 – the school’s largest single gift ever – and $8 million in funding from the state approved in 2016.

The ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. in the A9 parking lot just north of the SUU Student Center. The public event anticipates a flag ceremony by ROTC, speakers, a musical number and refreshments provided by SUU’s hotel, resort and hospitality management students.

“The new building will provide needed space for students, professors and professionals to collaborate and experiment with business ideas, assignments, and projects,” Mary Pearson, interim associate dean for the School of Business, said. “The ceremony will build excitement for the future home of the School of Business at Southern Utah University.”

Momentum for the new building started in 2015, when SUU received $7.5 million from the Dixie and Anne Leavitt Foundation, the largest single gift in the school’s history. According to an SUU news release at the time, $5 million of that gift would go toward the construction of the new School of Business building and $2.5 million would support student scholarships

“Throughout the years, the Leavitts have stepped forward to help SUU in its most critical moments,” university President Scott Wyatt said when the Leavitts’ gift was announde. “This gift will transform SUU. … We need more role models like them for our students, examples of hard work, good character and family devotion.”

Read more: Leavitt Foundation gives $7.5M to university; funds building, scholarships

In addition to the Leavitts’ gift, the Utah Legislature in 2016 approved funding for $8 million.

Architects and engineers have since completed a comprehensive review of a potential site, working with SUU faculty and staff to create a building that will satisfy many campus needs.

“If innovative thinking is to be encouraged and nurtured, it requires an innovative learning space that spurs such thought,” Carl Templin, dean of the School of Business said. “The environment needs to be one that excites and enriches the student experience like this building is designed to do.”

MHTN Architects Inc. is conducting the design, SUU Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications Nikki Koontz said in an email to St. George News. Layton Construction from Salt Lake City is the general contractor and the project will be managed by the Utah Department of Facilities and Construction Management.

One of the business building’s innovative spaces will be the new Larry H. and Gail Miller Family Center for Entrepreneurship. The center, designed to foster creativity, collaboration, and innovation, will be a place for all students interested in starting their own company and learning to think like entrepreneurs. According to a July 2016 news release by SUU, the Entrepreneurship Center will include The Christy Family Incubator Lab, office space and a place for guidance and mentoring from successful business owners.

The School of Business building will encourage participatory and practical business education, the university’s news release states, with flexible learning spaces for greater collaboration.

The design purpose is to allow for efficient education for future business leaders, the university’s news release states, and to do so with a sound ethical base as well as with solid and dynamic knowledge and experience.

The School of Business building will consist of 41,860 gross square feet, sited north of the Sharwan Smith Student Center, Koontz said in her email, and listed the following “fun facts” about the project elements:

  • Two stories – open floor plan.
  • Fifteen classrooms.
  • Thirty-eight offices with support space.
  • Investment service learning lab.
  • Entrepreneur lab.
  • Group study rooms.
  • Visual connection between first and second floors.
  • Some classrooms can double as event spaces.
  • Spacious outdoor gathering areas.

The new home of SUU’s School of Business will be constructed with state-of-the-art facilities, equipment and technology in order to meet the needs of its students and prepare business leaders for the future, the university’s news release states.

Completion is expected in fall 2018.

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Twitter: @STGnews

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