The 2017 Legislature approved funding for the top three priorities of the state-funded capital facilities requests of the Utah State Board of Regents. Each year, the Regents re-evaluate the capital facilities needs of USHE institutions. This prioritization is conducted after an extensive evaluation process including project site visits by the Capital Facilities Committee, space inventories, and various scoring methods.
Last September, as the Regents prioritized these projects, Chair Dan Campbell remarked, “We are seeing the impact of a decade of student growth while trying to plan for the next 10 years of similar growth, so each institution faces challenges in meeting its capacity needs. These budget priorities and building projects are a crucial component in keeping pace with the growing workforce needs in Utah.”
USHE has added 52,000 new students in the past decade—more than the current student bodies at Weber State University, Southern Utah University, and Dixie State University combined. That growth is been accommodated by driving efficiencies and adopting innovation, including vastly expanding online offerings to over 80 certificates and degrees. However, unlike public education, higher education does not have a local levy to fund facilities. There are only two primary funding sources: state tax funds and private fundraising Last year, K-12 spent over $800 million on capital development projects, compared with $87 million appropriated from the Legislature for USHE building projects. Public education has five times more students than USHE, yet spent 10 times more on capital development.
While these projects were not fully funded this year, it is anticipated the funding will be phased in over the next few years through a combination of one-time funds, ongoing funds and even possible bonding if necessary. The phased funding will not impact the planned timeline of these projects, with Weber State University breaking ground on May 9, 2017 for the renovation of Lindquist Hall.
The Legislature appropriated funds for the following projects:
Snow College – $500,000
The Legislature also appropriated $500,000 to Snow College for the purchase of property contiguous to its main campus to help advance its master plan. More information is available here.