U to break ground on USTAR building

By By Asst. News Editor

By Asst. News Editor

Students can expect to see construction starting April 22 when the U breaks ground on a new science and technology research building on the old golf course.

The new complex is the first of four proposed buildings to house U researchers recruited through the Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative, which the Utah Legislature established three years ago to stimulate economic growth through research-based businesses.

Layton Construction workers have been installing temporary utility lines on the west side of the U golf course and closing down Federal Way, a road that cuts through the nine-hole course from Wasatch Drive to Central Campus Drive.

Tom Christensen, a project manager for campus design and construction, said the projected multi-story building will hold 24 research teams and primary investigators that the USTAR board has been hiring during the past few years.

“It will be a lot bigger than the Warnock Engineering Building, and about twice the size of the Skaggs Biology Building, which is just over 100,000 square feet,” Christensen said.

The entire four-building complex is proposed to cover nearly 1 million square feet, and construction could take 20 years or more.

Christensen said designers are working on a traffic study to assess how construction will affect travel to buildings and parking lots impacted by the project. The main road to the Union will stay accessible for the two and a half years of construction, but Christensen said they are looking into alternate travel routes.

Despite construction taking over the golf course, some U engineering students are excited for more focus on science and technology on campus.

“I think this research will give us more hands-on opportunities to learn about stuff we’ll be doing after graduation,” said John Olsen, a sophomore in civil engineering.

However, Bryan Scharman, a junior in electrical engineering, said losing the golf course is frustrating for faculty and students who enjoyed taking an afternoon break to hit a golf ball in between classes and work.

“It would be worth it if students were going to be affected by the new building, but I doubt it,” Scharman said. “This sounds like it will be for faculty research more than students.”

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