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Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News
The Micron plant could encompass 1,536 average-size single-family homes. The company originally planned to hire as many as 3,500 in three to five years.

Utah County admittedly can't compete in the world of skyscrapers. The tallest building in the valley, Brigham Young University's Kimball Tower, comes in at a mere 12 stories.

The Provo Nu Skin office tower is 10 stories, a fraction of manmade landmarks like Chicago's Sears tower and New York's Chrysler Building, but pretty bold in a valley where the average skyline is no threat to an airliner.

"I was in Shanghai recently where there are hundreds of these buildings that are 100 stories or more," Nu Skin executive John Peterson said. "We can't call our building — which is the tallest building in downtown Provo — a skyscraper or our international visitors will laugh. We just call it the high-rise building."

But there are still a few buildings in the valley of notable breadth and height. Here are their stories:

Micron in Lehi

The 2.3 million-square-foot Micron building, which focuses mostly on memory chip testing now, could encompass 1,536 average-size single-family homes. Enough dirt was excavated to fill 4.25 million wheelbarrows, and 225,000 cubic yards of concrete were poured into the facility.

There are 113,000 feet of exterior underground waterlines and 2.4 million gallons of fire water storage — equivalent to 48,000 50-gallon aquariums.

While it was being built, workers put in 6.75 million man-hours. It's estimated it will take another 4.5 million man-hours to fully complete the $2.5 billion building, which, when undertaken in 1995, was one of the largest projects in Utah, let alone Utah County.

Novell in Provo

The Novell office building in Provo's Easy Bay is an impressive eight-story complex that provides 394,000 square feet of office space — more than one-third of the total 913,000 square feet offered in eight buildings on the campus.

It stands 135 feet tall and buffers Provo's south end.

Kevin Barney, Novell's local spokesman, said the building has offered some interesting opportunities for the network software business.

"A couple of years ago, we had an in-house product promotion where we had a 'Lara Croft' look-alike rappel down the side of the building.

BYU Kimball Tower

Former LDS Church President Spencer W. Kimball dedicated the 12-story classroom/office tower at BYU in 1981. It was then, and remains now, the tallest building in Utah Valley, standing 161 feet 6 inches above ground and was deliberately positioned on a 45-degree angle to avoid a corridor effect caused by placing buildings in a row.

NuSkin International

Nu Skin officials say if they could count the flagpole, perhaps they could give the Kimball tower a run for being the valley's tallest building.

John Peterson, spokesman for the cosmetic and health products company, said the $18 million building was originally planned for nine stories, but the company grew so fast that an additional story was added after construction was under way.

"We ended up with 10 stories above ground," Peterson said. "The top floor has three executive offices that are quite unique, and the top is domed and curved. We think it's quite unique."

The building provides 126,000 square feet of space for offices, studios, showrooms and a theater.

Western Distribution Center

Originally built in 1996 to serve as a distribution center for the Fingerhut catalog company, the huge one-story $70 million building on the south side of Utah County never opened as a Fingerhut warehouse.

Instead, the building, now called the Western Distribution Center in Spanish Fork, houses several tenants, including JC Penney and Banta International, which lease space from owner Transwestern Commercial Services.

The building features 1,044,000 square feet of space with up to 35,000 square feet of space available for high-quality offices.

Provo Marriott Hotel

The Provo Marriott was known as the Excelsior in May of 1983. Then it became the Seven Peaks Hotel after which it became the Provo Park before being purchased by the Marriott chain.

General manger John Garfield expects that it will remain a Marriott Hotel.

"We're happy with it," Garfield said.

The hotel has 309,000 square feet of space on nine floors and boasts 21 conference and ballroom spaces. There are two swimming pools, a fitness room, a gift shop, a private club and a public restaurant, a video arcade, a business center and wireless high-speed Internet.

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