Books are cracked, classrooms are full and all systems are go in LDS Business College's spacious new digs downtown.
This fall marks the first year in the school's new facility at the Triad Center, and next week President Gordon B. Hinckley of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will dedicate the building.
The new 10-story, 150,000-square-foot facility is twice the size of the old campus and will be the college's eighth home in 120 years. After serving as an office building for more than two decades, the Triad Center facility was gutted last year and retrofitted with new heating, cooling and technology systems, classrooms, commons areas, labs and offices.
Craig Nelson, vice president of student affairs at the college, said there is a sense of permanence in the new building as well as a more collegiate atmosphere.
"It feels like we have stepped in the next phase of the school ... and students will have an expanded college experience," Nelson said.
Leaders say a big plus is that the school has substantially more space for the students to interact, study and collaborate. Along with a commons area outside, students have a few inside the school as well as a recreation area.
"Before there was a lobby with a couple of couches in it and it was hard for a lot of people to be in there without it getting loud and awkward," said Brian Walker, a student at the school. "This really feels more like a real school rather than walking into a remodeled mansion every day."
"Even though it was a wonderful place where we were (before), we can serve our students better here," college President Stephen Woodhouse said. "We have more space, we've brought everything up to date and our classrooms are larger and more functional."
Woodhouse said he plans to take advantage of the central location downtown in creating service opportunities for students and business partnerships with nearby organizations.
He said this year the school created an Academic and Career Advisor Center to help students find where they want to be in careers, and business partnerships with the school can help students along the way.
Woodhouse said service learning is also a large component in the school's programs and leaders plan to launch service projects and do outreach in the downtown area.
"We are so grateful to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for what they have given the students it's more than we had anticipated, and I have to honestly say it's more than I've ever dreamed," Woodhouse said. "And we're extremely grateful that President Hinckley has chosen to dedicate this building himself."
Woodhouse said both of President Hinckley's parents taught at the school years ago.
"It means a lot that the president would have that much interest to come himself sends a message to the students they are loved and appreciated and that something is required of them," Woodhouse said.
"As we spoke with the students at the beginning of the school year, we kind of put them on notice that the city is looking at our students to be examples and expect them to be examples of good citizens," he said.
E-mail: [email protected]