Clipper News Editor
LAYTON ó A second building for the Weber State University Davis campus has cleared one hurdle.
That is, the Utah Board of Regents gave it eighth place ranking in terms of being approved for construction.
Thatís not the only list of rankings that comes out, however. The State Building Board traditionally compiles its own list, each year, as does the Legislature, when it convenes in mid-January.
But a high-ranking Weber State University official contacted by the Clipper Monday was excited about prospects for the new building. ##M:More##
ìWe feel that itís a very compelling project,î said Brad Mortensen, vice president for university advancement.
Some $44 million has been earmarked by regents for the facility, that would be about the same size, approximately 120,000 square feet, as the existing building on the Layton campus.
A heating plant would also be included, built not only to serve those two buildings but the others planned eventually for the 100-acre campus.
ìThere are a lot of needs on the Davis campus,î Mortensen said. ìThe building we have there is really at capacity in the evenings. Weíre teaching courses back in the high schools,î which was done prior to the present campus opening.
ìThis building would give us the opportunity to meet additional demand in Davis County,î he said.
Preliminary figures, as of late last week, put enrollment at ìclose to 3,300.î
The new facility would provide a permanent home for NUAMS (Northern Utah Academy of Math and Science). The school uses some classrooms in the WSU building during the day as well as portable classrooms.
The new building would provide administrative offices as well as some classroom space for NUAMS, Mortensen said.
ìThey could use the space during the day, and we would use it at night,î when demand is greatest, he continued.
The second building would also allow for inclusion of a food service area, exercise facilities, a student commons and related areas, as previously outlined in the Clipper by Bruce Davis, director of the WSU Davis campus.
Food services, such as it is, consists of vending machines tucked into the bookstore, while there are no real areas for physical exercise, dance, or a gathering place.
ìWeíve really begun the process of educating the regents, will do some with the board (state board of education),î Mortensen said.
Last year, the Legislature funded no higher education buildings, he said.
ìWeíve done the programming for the building of how many classrooms, what type, all the other space,î as far as how it would be used, Mortensen said.
The next step would be to hire an architect to complete detailed plans. The whole process, after approval, would take 18 months to 24 months.
If the Legislature gives its green light, the earliest the building could be ready would likely be the spring or late summer of 2011.
ìAnn (Millner, WSU president) is very committed to that project,î he said. She was instrumental in plans to create the current campus and its first building.
ìWeíre hoping weíll be out talking to a lot of people, trying to gain support,î Mortensen said. ìThis naturally is a very compelling project for which itís very easy to tell the story.î
Overall, Davis County students comprise about 35 percent of WSUís total enrollment, including the Ogden main campus. Thatís ìneck and neckî with Weber County, he said.