The Utah System of Higher Education plans on requesting money from the state legislature to improve Utah college campuses. A portion of the proposed amount is allocated to Weber State University for remodeling buildings.

The plans have designated $40 million of the proposed $83 million to WSU for renovations and improvements on the Engineering Technology Building.

While the building may be in need of repairs, the funds will not come from state funding alone. After finalizing plans, members of the Utah Board of Regents discussed a possible 1.2 percent raise in tuition costs on top of the money allocated from the legislature.

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Main entrance to the Engineering Technology Building, located east of Tracy Hall. (Joshua Wineholt / The Signpost)

“Funding these budget priorities will help institutions move the needle in critical areas essential to student success and will give students more resources and support they need to succeed,” said Dave Buhler, Utah’s commissioner of higher education, in a statement released by the Utah System of Higher Education. “I look forward to working with the governor, legislature and institutional presidents in the coming months to advance these key priorities.”

The Utah Board of Regents met at WSU on Sept. 15 to discuss the Utah System of Higher Education fund allocation and prepare for the 2018 legislative session where the proposed budget will be decided.

All $40 million dollars will not be dedicated to the Engineering Technology Building alone.

“We are actually proposing building two engineering buildings,” Brad Mortenson, WSU vice president for university advancement, said. “A new, $17 million building at WSU Davis and a new $50 million building on the Ogden campus that will replace the Technical Education Building.”

The Davis building will be fully funded by non-state funds. Mortenson said that WSU still has around $5 million to raise for that project.

The plans for the new engineering building include a new name dedicated to a donor.

“The Ogden building will be known as the Noorda Engineering and Applied Science Building in honor of WSU alumnus Ray Noorda, whose family foundation has made a generous gift to the College of Engineering, Applied Science & Technology,” Mortenson said. “The other contributions will come from the Northern Utah Academy of Math, Engineering & Science (NUAMES) and other private donors.”

Mortenson also said that state funding for the future Noorda building was the top priority at the Board of Regents meeting. This means that funding for a WSU building was considered before funding for eight other Utah universities and colleges.

While the process of funding approval is underway, some students are hopeful that changes could be made to the Engineering Technology Building.

One student mentioned that she would want changes made to the air conditioning, restrooms and equipment students use for learning about engineering.

“In most of my classes, I’m more focused on how cold I am and not focused on what the professor is saying to me,” Shelby Chatlin, mechanical engineering major, said. “There should be more stalls in the women’s bathroom, newer and faster computers and more machines in the machine shop.”

Specific changes are not currently publicized, but two new buildings at two separate campuses could potentially improve student learning with up-to-date commodities.

Although plans are set in motion, steps still need to be taken.

“Next steps will be to have the project prioritized by the State Building Board, which prioritized higher education projects with other state entities like corrections, courts, agriculture,” Mortenson said. “Then, the Governor’s Budget recommendations and Infrastructure and General Government Appropritations Subcommittee of the legislature will make recommendations before final legislative funding levels are approved.”

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