ST. GEORGE — Acknowledging Dixie State University’s need for more academic buildings to accommodate its growing student body, before wrapping up the 2019 session last week, the Utah Legislature appropriated $50 million toward a new Science, Engineering & Technology building and $4.4 million to complete the Human Performance Center.
“All of us here at Dixie State University are beyond appreciative of the legislators’ support,” DSU President Richard B. Williams said in a press release from the university. “The Science, Engineering & Technology building will have a tremendous benefit on the entire Southern Utah region as we continue to make significant strides in increasing academic offerings in these growing fields and prepare students to meet the area’s workforce needs.”
The funding for the building will enable the university to expand its academic offerings in engineering, biology, chemistry, physics, geology, physiology and genetic counseling. Graduates in these programs will go on to fill regional health care and technology workforce shortages.
Additionally, the facility will allow Dixie State to create pipeline programs with Intermountain Healthcare, the University of Utah and local tech industry partners.
The university’s science department is currently in a building that was constructed for a student population of 350 in 1963. The new building will support modern science equipment and meet the needs of Dixie State’s expanding student body, the press release states.
For example, enrollment in chemistry, anatomy and physiology is up 20 percent this year, requiring anatomy labs to be held 16 hours a day and on weekends.
The building will be located on Dixie State’s main campus, east of the Dolores Doré Eccles Fine Arts Center, off 100 South.
The Human Performance Center is a 155,000-square-foot academic, fitness and recreational facility set to open this fall. In addition to housing the specialized classrooms and labs DSU needs to offer health and human performance programs, the facility will be home to the university’s campus recreation and intramural programs and include a student fitness center, an open-air rooftop with recreational space and a 50-meter Olympic-sized swimming pool with deck and spectator space.
Student enrollment has grown by 16 percent to nearly 10,000 students in the last three years and by more than 54 percent in the last decade.
“Dixie State University is continuing to grow and achieve our strategic goals that are assisting us in the transition from university status to university stature,” Williams said. “The addition of the Science, Engineering & Technology building and demonstrated support from the Utah State Legislature significantly help with this process and make Trailblazer Nation an even better place to live and go to school.”