Regents prioritize STEM building proposals in support of state’s economic priorities

The Board of Regents met on Wednesday, August 19  to prioritize this year’s capital development requests from USHE institutions in preparation for the 2015 legislative session.  This year, the board has made STEM its top priority (STEM=Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).

The 2015 top USHE capital facilities priorities:

  1. University of Utah – Crocker Science Building

  2. Snow College – Science Building Replacement

  3. Salt Lake Community College – Career and Technical Education Learning & Resource Center

  4. Utah State University – Biological Sciences Building

The full list of capital development priorities of the State Board of Regents is available here.

The Board has made STEM a priority through several actions in recent years, recognizing the increased value a highly STEM-trained workforce can provide the state’s economy. With STEM job growth projected to grow even faster in coming years, there is a greater urgency to meet the demand for a STEM-skilled workforce in Utah by providing state-of-the-art STEM higher education facilities. Education and training in STEM fields require up-to-date, high-tech and dynamic facilities. The labs and classrooms of today’s STEM certificate and degree programs are different than those found in yesterday’s science buildings; for instance, physical space that allows students to collaborate and work in teams is essential to help develop contemporary STEM workplace skills.

Unfortunately, much of the current STEM infrastructure at our colleges and universities is outdated, run-down and limited in capacity. For the past few years, the State Board of Regents and the Utah Legislature have made strides in updating STEM facilities at some of Utah’s public institutions:

  • 2011 — SUU Gibson Science Center
  • 2012 — UVU Science Building
  • 2013 — DSU Snow Science Lab Addition
  • 2016 — WSU Tracy Hall Science Center (under construction)

 

The July 2014 Board of Regents meeting agenda contains additional information on these and all of the USHE capital development requests. The capital development priorities of the Board will be considered by the State Building Board in October and will ultimately be prioritized for funding by the Utah Legislature during the 2015 Legislative session.