A $1 million donation pledge from the George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation has helped to build a stronger financial footing for a package that is being put together to fund a $19 million multievents center in Richfield.

"We are pleased to assist you with this donation and are thrilled that you will have such a wonderful facility to hold cultural and educational events for the benefit of your area," foundation officials said. The contribution was announced by Lisa Eccles and Robert M. Graham, executive assistant to the chairman and treasurer, respectively, of the Eccles Foundation. It is one of the larger Eccles Foundation contributions.The joint Sevier Valley Applied Technology Center and Sevier School District project lacks about $1.5 million of the $6 million needed to complete the financial package to begin the project. Sevier County voters approved a $1.5 million bond issue for the project, part of a $2 million pledge from the Sevier School District. The 1997 Utah Legislature allocated $1.5 million, primarily through the efforts of state representatives Brad Johnson, R-Aurora, Tom Hatch, R-Panguitch, and state Sen. Leonard Blackham, R-Moroni.

A $19 million federal loan is being sought through the Utah congressional delegation. It would be amortized from investments of the $6 million that is being raised for the Sevier Valley Multi-Events Center. Area city and county government agencies have also united their efforts with the school district and the technical center in working with the Utah congressional delegation toward obtaining the low-interest federal loan.

Albertsons and PacifiCorp are also private contributors to the project.

The programming phase was started more than a year ago with officials working toward determining the size and scope of the building while keeping the costs within budget constraints. The design phase follows the program and a contractor could be selected by late summer or fall.

It is anticipated that 18 classrooms will be built in connection with the events center.

Construction is expected to begin by the start of the 1999-2000 school year and the facility completed by 2000. It will be used by schools and the communities.

The center will pave the way for more extensive performing arts in the area. It will include an 800-seat performing arts theater and a special events arena that will have the flexibility of seating 1,000 to 5,500.

The arena will contain a large, portable stage which can be arranged in a variety of settings to accommodate conferences, conventions, concerts and other large group functions.