1 of 6
August Miller, Utah Valley University Marketing
UVU faculty, employees and local and state officials listen to President Matthew S. Holland speak at the Ribbon Cutting for the new UVU Student Life and Wellness Center on the campus of Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah Thursday April 17, 2014. (August Miller, UVU Marketing)

OREM — Utah Valley University officials cut the ribbon on a brand new, 170,000-square-foot student life and wellness center Thursday.

The building, located north of the Sorensen Student Center on the UVU campus, includes a bowling alley, indoor track, 40-foot climbing wall and several basketball courts and fitness studios.

The building also features a reflection center, which Dean of Students Shad Sorenson described as a non-denominational space for meditation, prayer or peace and quiet.

"It’s a place where a person can really focus on the emotional aspects of their life and their spirituality," he said.

The wellness center, which began construction in 2012, was financed entirely by student fees and operations and will continue to be funded by the student body, Sorensen said. The facilities will be free to full-time students, with part-time students able to purchase a membership and members of the public able to pay for services on the lower levels.

"We anticipate that it will truly enhance the student life experience for our students and that it will be gathering place for them to come and to have things to do on campus outside of their classroom experience," he said.

In a prepared statement, UVU President Matthew Holland said the building will help foster a community atmosphere on campus.

Comment on this story

"This structure will provide an anchor point for students on what is traditionally considered to be a commuter campus," Holland said. "Research shows that the more students are engaged with campus life, the more likely they are to reach their educational goals."

A student open house will be held at the wellness center on Friday with a daylong program of activities, including free body composition testing, sporting events, a dutch oven demonstration and Zumba classes.

"It’s an amazing facility," Sorenson said. "We invite the public to come during the month of April. It’s open for everyone to look at."

Email: benwood@deseretnews.com, Twitter: bjaminwood