OGDEN -- Weber State University officials say the $3.5 million the Utah Legislature allocated for designing a new WSU science building will help the $60 million plan to move forward.
"Assuming the Legislature funds the project (again during) the 2014 session, this doesn't slow the project down at all because we would have to do 12 months of design work before we could start construction anyway," said Brad Mortensen,
Weber State had requested the full $60 million for the building, and did not get that during the recently finished Legislative session. But Mortensen said the Legislature often, in recent years, has funded a building design plan, then gone on to fund construction the next year.
"Last year they did two projects this way, and they came back this year and funded the rest," he said. "Elizabeth Hall, on our own campus, was a building that received design funding one year and full funding the next year."
Mortensen said he is grateful to everyone who supported the project. With design funding, Weber State will be able to put a team in place to determine the types of spaces needed in the building and the size of those spaces, he said.
"The programming team will decided how to best accommodate the current student body and to plan for growth," he said.
With the funding now available, WSU also hired a design firm to do drawings, blueprints and construction documenting, Mortensen said. A general contractor also will be selected.
"It's too early to know exactly what that process will be," he said. "Those decisions will be made at some point during this year."
David Matty, WSU dean of the College of Science, said he is happy with the Legislature's decision.
"We are just ecstatic," he said. "We are on the radar of the Legislature, and they are willing to invest in the design of this much needed facility.
"I think the best news is that it's really going to position us to help move the economy of Northern Utah ahead by better training future graduates in the STEM fields," he said.