OGDEN -- Why will the health science building cross the road?
It's no joke. It's part of a Weber State University master plan, approved Friday by the State Board of Regents.
The master plan is WSU's guidelines for how it would like to grow and make improvements over the next 10 to 15 years, when and if project funding becomes available.
"The big picture is, the Ogden campus is 55 years old," said Norm Tarbox, Weber State vice president of administrative services.
"It's a beautiful place, but there's a lot of reinvesting that we have been doing and that we need to do. We are trying to renew the campus for new generations of students and patrons."
The master plan includes:
- The new health sciences building, the first campus building planned for the west side of Harrison Boulevard, which will put students closer to McKay- Dee Hospital and provide increased opportunities for training and learning.
- A new science lab complex to replace two existing buildings, which Tarbox said are cramped, antiquated and expensive to operate and maintain.
- A new road to provide direct access from the Dee Events Center and student housing to the main campus just a few blocks north. The project is in the early planning stages, but would require additional property acquisition.
- In addition, Weber State will be considering how to best use property it owns on the hillside immediately northeast of Wildcat Stadium, Tarbox said.
The Board of Regents, which met Friday at Weber State, approved the plan quickly and without much discussion. More details for master plan projects will become available as funding becomes available and plans move forward.
WSU already is making numerous improvements, approved previously by the Board of Regents. Among projects under way or soon to begin are improvements to the Dee Events Center parking lot.
"There is no opportunity to resurface the parking lot, so we will be starting over," Tarbox said. "It will be the first time since the Dee Events Center opened, and we hope to accomplish a lot and to dramatically improve the landscaping."
Tarbox said the northern third of the lot should be done by fall.
Besides a smoother, more regular driving surface, the lot will feature wider landscaping strips, with an automated watering system. Keeping trees alive in the existing, thin landscaping strips, with limited soil surface for water absorption, has been an ongoing problem, Tarbox said.
The improved lot also will feature more parking spaces and an increased number of handicapped spaces, to meet federal standards.
Weber State ultimately plans to run a road from 4600 South through the parking lot, to keep traffic in a designated area and improve pedestrian safety, Tarbox said.
Wildcat Stadium is getting artificial turf and track resurfacing.
"It will greatly improve conditions for the track teams and the football team," Tarbox said. "The artificial surface will be much more durable, and maintenance costs will be much lower."
Weber State also will add landscaping to the north entrance of the stadium, which will ultimately be the primary stadium entrance, Tarbox said.
Student housing is being upgraded.
"We are right in the middle of a major student housing project that will provide 500 brand-new beds on campus, bringing the total number of beds to 1,000," Tarbox said. "Our plan is to open a new residence hall each fall semester for the next three falls -- 2011, 2012 and 2013."
Stansbury Hall has been demolished, and a new building goes up this summer, Tarbox said. This summer, Wasatch and LaSal will come down to make way for a new building. Promontory Tower will be the last to be demolished and replaced, Tarbox said.
A number of smaller projects also are under way this summer on the main campus, he said. One is the building of a covered patio outside the Shepherd Union Building.
And the new building for the Weber State Davis campus, approved this year by the Legislature, is in the early planning stages. An architect and construction manager will be hired within the next couple of weeks, Tarbox said.
"We have design work to do," he said. "Once that is done, we will move forward as quickly as possible."
Tarbox said groundbreaking could be in late fall or early next spring.