‘It’s been in the works for about 2 years’; SUU receives legislative funding for new building

A rendering of the building for which Southern Utah University recently received legislative funding | Photo courtesy of Southern Utah University, St George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — Southern Utah University was awarded a $43 million appropriation from the Utah Legislature to construct a new building on campus.

SUU President Scott Wyatt first mentioned the building during a virtual community forum held March 24, and on Monday, he told Cedar City News the university had to present proposals and data to various committees and boards within the Legislature. In order for the university to receive approval and funding, he said, the building had to be ranked among the state’s top building projects.

“It’s a long process,” Wyatt said. “Its been in the works for about two years.”

One consideration Wyatt brought to the Legislature’s attention was the fact the university’s classroom utilization is higher than other universities in the state, but square footage per student at SUU is the lowest compared across the state.

In addition, the university has received the lowest amount of state funding – $12 million during the past 10 years – when compared to others in Utah, such as Dixie State University, which has received $118.9 million from the state.

Wyatt said the university has also raised a significant amount of funding for projects, has some of the oldest facilities among state institutions and has the highest growth rate, at approximately 5% each year.

Wyatt added that he recognizes that this is taxpayer funding and said he tries to be sensitive to taxpayers as well.

“The most important thing for the Cedar City community to know is SUU has grown faster than any other school and that we’re making good use of our buildings,” Wyatt said.

The new building will be 90,000 square feet, contain 14 new classrooms, seven computer labs, eight teaching studios and a number of faculty offices. Located south of the America First Event Center on the corner of 200 South and 800 West, the three-story building is set to house several departments, including Art and Design, a new film studies programs, history, sociology and anthropology, math and aviation.

A new parking lot will also be constructed across the street from the building to the west, and the university wants to preserve as much of the current multipurpose quad area as possible. Wyatt expects bidding for the project to start this coming spring, with construction to start later this year. The new building is expected to be ready for students by the spring 2022 semester.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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