LAYTON -- Gov. Gary Herbert signed a bill on Wednesday that allows the state to borrow funds for a new building at the Weber State University Davis campus.
Herbert signed House Bill 4 and Senate Bill 5, both sponsored by Rep. Gage Froerer, R-Huntsville, and Sen. Stuart Adams, R-Layton. Herbert then traveled to Utah State University, where he signed HB 57, sponsored by Rep. John G. Mathis, R-Vernal. That bill provides for the establishment of a veterinary education program at USU.
Travis Crowe and Jadie Ward, both 17, are enrolled in WSU's early college program and are juniors in the Northern Utah Academy, Math, Engineering & Science program, which shares the Davis campus with WSU. They attend many classes in portable classrooms parked on WSU's Davis campus.
"The long-term solution is a building which will house us," Travis said. "You come up here at night and every classroom is full and the parking lot is packed."
Jadie said earlier this year she heard a new building on the campus was going to happen.
But what they did not know was how hard local lawmakers had to work to get HB 4 through the House.
"I had doubts until the last vote in the House it would make it," Froerer said.
Froerer said a group of representatives did not want to borrow $89 million to build a second building at the WSU Davis campus, the Freeport Center warehouse remodel for the Davis Applied Technology College and four other projects across the state.
A total of $31.5 million will go toward WSU's new building, while the DATC and the state archive department will receive $5 million to remodel three buildings the federal government donated to the state.
Froerer and others worked to persuade skeptical lawmakers that, with low interest rates and the cost of construction decreasing, now is the time to build.
The DATC will remodel a building that was once a warehouse at Freeport Center for its composite program. DATC President Michael Bouwhuis said he hopes students will be in the building no later than December.
Herbert said the "Top of Utah team" of lawmakers, educators, community leaders and business officials are the ones who worked to get the funding for WSU and DATC.
It is the students who need to be ready to compete in a global economy, he said.
Former Sen. Haven Barlow, R-Layton, was in attendance. Officials credited Barlow with getting the ball rolling to build a WSU Davis campus.