Gov. Gary Herbert helped cut the ribbon Friday on Utah Valley University's long-anticipated expansion of its Science Building.
The 160,000-square-foot facility addresses a pressing space shortage on the Orem campus, where enrollment has ballooned to 33,000 during recessionary times.
"The new Science Building will allow us to alleviate bottlenecks in important science classes, offer critical new programs, improve our pedagogical interaction with students and enhance critical faculty-student interactions," said Sam Rushforth, dean of the College of Science & Health.
About 20,000 students are expected to take courses through the college, whose faculty include Steve Wasserbaech, a physicist with an appointment at Switzerland's CERN lab, and biologist Ruhul Kuddus, a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh.
The $50 million project, designed by GSBS Architects and built by Big-D Construction, includes 27 laboratory classrooms, 18 lecture rooms, 12 research laboratories, a rooftop greenhouse and a 400-seat auditorium, the university's largest.
"At critical junctures in the process of making this project a reality, individuals and organizations stepped up and came through for the University," said a news release quoting President Matthew Holland. "The result is a state-of-the-art science facility that will provide significant opportunities for our stellar faculty to help students achieve success in science and health disciplines at UVU."
The university celebrated the opening with two days of science lectures, tours for high school students and open houses.