LOGAN -- The Utah Board of Regents on Friday announced that Weber State University's proposed Science Lab Building tops the ranked list of capital improvements it will suggest to Gov. Gary Herbert prior to the 2014 legislative session.
Weber State is requesting $57.4 million in state funds toward the construction of the new building. Funds to design the space were awarded during the 2013 legislative session, and a final design plan is nearing completion.
"I'm very excited," said Dave Matty, dean of Weber State's College of Science. "This is the best possible news we could get, and something we've been waiting for for a long time."
Also on the Regents' capital improvements list, in descending order of rank, are:
* $34 million for a University of Utah Science Center.
* $26.424 million for a Utah State University Statewide Instructional Initiative.
* $27 million for a Salt Lake Community College Career & Technical Education classroom building.
* $13.5 million for a Dixie State University Physical Education/Student Wellness Center.
* $13.5 million for a Southern Utah University Business Building.
* $30 million for a Utah Valley University Performing Arts Building.
It's good to be at the top of the list, Matty said.
"Nothing is ever a slam dunk," he said. "There are lots of things in play. But hopefully, the economy will stay strong, and the Legislature will recognize the need."
Weber State's current Science Lab Building was built in the mid-1960s, and is not up to current seismic safety standards, let alone meeting modern standards for science and technology education.
"I've only been waiting two years, since my arrival here, but talk of needing a new building started close to 25 years ago," Matty said. "We have great people, and we have great programs, but we find we are limited by our facilities. We are all looking forward to the possibilities that would open up because of a new facility. We would be able to do so many more things to improve students' experiences. It's unimaginable, at this point, it would be so different."
Contact reporter Nancy Van Valkenburg at 801-625-4275 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @S_ENancyVanV.