The Jeffrey R. Holland Centennial Commons building is a new addition to add to the university status of Dixie State University, but the student government is working hard to keep updating campus.
The members of the Board of Regents traveled to DSU Thursday to see the campus and consider the need of a new recreational facility for students, faculty and community members.
“The building will be used for educational facilities like classrooms, physical ed. labs and equipment, and things to really spark a health center for educational purposes,” said Gregory Layton, a senior English major from Cottonwood Heights and Vice President of Academics.
Layton said this building would help give students hands-on experience to be able to excel in their future health careers.
Christian Hildebrandt, director of the Fitness Center, said the No. 1 priority for improving the Dixie State campus is adding more space for physical activities.
“Our biggest urgent need on campus is court space,” Hildebrandt said. “We have one court to handle all of our PE activity classes, all of our intramural activities, all of our open gym time…athletics get involved too, and we have one court to do all of it.”
If Dixie were to be compared to other schools around the country, it would need an additional six to eight courts on campus.
“That’s something we’d really like, but we’ll take two,” Hildebrandt said. “We just need more than one.”
Regent visitors Nina Barnes and Robert Marquardt went on a campus tour on Thursday so they could report back to the Regents to discuss if it’s something the state can pursue.
“The Regents asked a lot of good questions, and they made comments that definitely hinted that they could see the need,” Layton said. “We went into the fitness center, and some of them seemed like they were somewhat shocked.”
If the Regents pass the proposal, it gets sent to Legislation and the Building Commission for the State of Utah will meet and put the building on a list of agendas. The time to build the new recreational facility will depend solely on where the building is placed on the list.
“If you think of it as we’re making dinner, we haven’t even gone grocery shopping yet,” said Dave Howell, the intramural coordinator. “It’s a process of looking at what we want and what the need is, and we’ll go from there.”
The building will have many improved attributes, such as: classrooms, gymnasiums, an auditorium, physical ed. Labs and equipment, multipurpose rooms, faculty and staff offices, locker/dressing rooms, studios, an indoor track, etc. The estimated location of the building is on DSU’s main campus near the Hansen Stadium.
“Is it important to us?” Hildebrandt said. “Yeah, it’s important to us on campus, but we’re just trying to put our best foot forward and do whatever we can to be successful. The student government has latched onto this, and they’re 100 percent behind it.”
Layton said many students do complain and would absolutely love to have a new facility, so this project definitely aligns with a majority of what he feels the student body would think is beneficial.
Layton also said if Dixie is able to build this facility, the physical education program would skyrocket.
“The only reason there aren’t more [physical ed. programs] is because the capacity is not able to run such programs,” Layton said.
But the building would not only support a physical education program, but it would also help students in the medical field, as well as helping them progress with Intermountain Healthcare.
“[IHC] will partner with us, so a lot of the students here that are training to be in the medical field and the physical ed. field would then go on to do things with IHC,” Layton said.
Hildebrandt said the building would also improve the recreational environment on campus. Everyone has different likes and preferences, and with a new facility, students will have a variety of choices and can participate in the activities they enjoy.
“Hopefully most students can latch onto something,” Hildebrandt said. “The whole goal is to just improve the wellness of the campus.”
Layton said if the building did get approved, the plan would be to go into a 20-year bond saying that the students will pay for their portion of the building.
“The building fee would increase by $25,” Layton said. “If this isn’t implemented, it would just be a gradual increase, instead of just one big increase; that way, those who are going to be using the building will have to pay, instead of the students right now who aren’t going to be using the building.”
The cost of the building will be $27 million, and the administration and student government plan to pay that off by help from the State, student fees and community donations.
“There are a lot of initiatives and a lot of things that could be on campus,” Layton said. “A lot of students and faculty members have different opinions on what is the best in the future, but it’s our feeling as student government, and the last five student governments, that the students as a whole need more adequate recreational space and physical education assets and to just have that recreational lifestyle here at Dixie.”