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UVU president unveils ambitious plan for growth

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 16 2011 5:23 p.m. MST

OREM — Utah Valley University will need an additional $45 million in tax revenue to accommodate recent and projected growth, the school's president said Wednesday.

UVU will also have to hire 350 full-time professors and 272 adjunct instructors, build out by 1.4 million square feet and 4,900 parking spots and add 500 staff, Matthew Holland said in his annual address on the state of the university.

With more juniors and seniors staying to take advantage of the school's increased four-year degree offerings, and with Utah Valley expected to grow its college-age population by 24,000, UVU is projected to reach a head count of 46,340 students — equivalent to 37,330 full-time students — by 2020. Its head count broke 32,000 last fall.

It won't be possible to foot the $45 million bill solely with tuition, which Holland expects to rise by up to 9 percent next year. Currently, UVU is the only public university in Utah to get less than half of its funding from the state.

"We will have to have help from the state," he said.

The Utah Legislature has signaled its intent to cut the state's higher education budget for a third year in a row, while considering the adoption of a "mission-based" funding scheme that would fund growth at institutions like UVU.

Several of the state's open-admission institutions have unofficial "soft caps" in place, meaning that some students choose not to attend because they cannot get in the classes they need to graduate on time.

But with accessibility a high priority, Holland said actively restricting enrollment would be a last resort.

"Such a move would suggest negotiating a fundamental change in our institutional mission and role within the Utah System of Higher Education, but we must be prepared to move that direction if we are left without the support necessary to sustain sterling university credentials and infrastructure," he said.

While Holland said he wants UVU to retain its community-college function, the school is offering more advanced degrees. UVU gained accreditation for the first this month for its three graduate programs — business administration, nursing and education — and plans to add more.

Holland said UVU could meet its physical needs by adding three state-funded buildings over the next 10 years, as well as two others financed through local donors, bonding or leases.

Parking is the No. 1 complaint on campus, he said, with six students per spot. His goal is to bring that number down to one parking spot for every three students, starting with a request to the state to allow the construction of UVU's first parking garage. The $8 million structure would hold 536 parking stalls and would be funded through parking fees.

E-mail: pkoepp@desnews.com

Twitter: pbkdn

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