A day in history for Weber State University took place during the groundbreaking of a new building at WSU’s Davis campus Tuesday. This marks a new start for the Davis community for the coming years.
“It literally does take a community to build a campus,” said WSU President Ann Millner.
Millner expressed her excitement for the new campus building, along with many others, including Brady Harris, the Davis student senator, who kicked off the event by thanking everyone for their support. People from the Legislature, student council, Board of Trustees and many other groups were all a part of making this happen.
The plan to start building and expanding took place after the first building at Davis campus began being used in fall 2003.
“We very quickly filled up, and in the very first semester, we ran out of parking,” said Bruce Davis, vice provost.
Because the building filled up so fast, an additional parking lot was built to accommodate students. About three years into it, they decided they needed to plan a new building because of the excessive growth in the area.
NUAMES is a recent program that helps students get started on their college careers early. They have been using portables for the past few years and some classes in the Davis campus building during the morning time, while graduate programs are held in the evenings. After the new building is built, the portables will be gone, and students will all be in classes in both buildings, with an expected growth in the NUAMES department.
More features will be added, such as a student union, fitness center and food court.
“Food and fitness are areas that we need to strengthen out here,” Davis said.
Millions of dollars in funding are going to be contributed to the new building from Legislative funding, student union funding and other companies.
“We are going to use it as wisely as we can,” Davis said.
New degree programs will be added also, and degree programs that already existed will grow substantially. Professional programs are mainly targeted, such as the nursing and electronics engineering programs.
Davis County is the third-fastest-growing community in Utah.
“There’s more students from Davis County that attend Weber State than Weber County,” Davis said. Enrollment went from 22 percent from Davis County to now about 35 percent, according to Davis. Enrollment is about 3,700 students and is expected to grow to around 12,000 once the new building is there, along with other buildings in the future.
The Davis campus building experienced a major leap in success when it was first built. Governor Michael Leavitt said he believed at the time, that more students would be doing school electronically and that buildings would phase out. But when the school began to grow, more programs came into the area, and more students had the opportunity to succeed.
The new building will be called the Professional Programs Classroom building. Occupancy is expected to take place in June 2013. The plan to have more buildings is already in effect. A possible 10-12 more buildings will be a part of the Davis campus over the next 40 years.
“We own 106 acres of land out here,” Davis said.
The legislatures were recognized for their efforts to help make this happen.
“We could not have done it without the legislatures,” Millner said. “They are the ones that make a difference and make this project happen, and they do that because they believe in higher education.”