Utah State Legislature supports Dixie State building projects, offers ongoing funding

In support of Dixie State University’s commitment to student success, the Utah State Legislature allocated the institution $56 million toward a general education building and more than $6 million in new ongoing funding.

“The Utah State Legislature continues to be an amazing champion for higher education, the students of Utah and Dixie State University specifically,” Richard B. Williams, DSU president, said. “Over the last half-decade, DSU has experienced explosive growth in enrollment, academic programs and campus facilities, and this would not be possible without the great support of our legislators.”

To accommodate Dixie State’s growing student body, which has increased by 44 percent since 2015, the Legislature fully funded the university’s general classroom building request. The simple, cost-effective layout will feature more than 50 classrooms that can accommodate more than 2,250 students in addition to nearly 100 faculty offices and 20 study rooms. The $56 million project will allow the university to move general education classes currently taught in makeshift spaces to the center of campus for easy access.

The Legislature also allocated more than $2.5 million in ongoing performance and growth funding to Dixie State University. Among other priorities, this funding will allow the university to hire faculty and staff to meet the needs of new degree programs and advance regional economic growth by training highly skilled and career-ready graduates. The university has added more than 100 academic programs in the last five years alone.

The funding will also support DSU’s Booth Wellness Center, which offers medical and mental health services to students at no cost. Mental health services have been requested at a growing rate as enrollment continues to increase and students navigate the ongoing COVID pandemic. Funding will help the center hire additional healthcare professionals and offer more services.

Additionally, to ensure the institution can retain the employees necessary to educate and support students, state legislators also approved more than $4 million in faculty and staff compensation increases to help offset the nationwide hike in cost-of-living expenses.

The Legislature also granted the university authority to issue bonds for Campus View Suites III, a student housing facility that is projected to help address Southern Utah’s housing shortage by adding 500 beds to campus. The 140,000-square-foot facility, which is expected to cost $62.5 million and open by the start of the Fall 2025 semester, will be located next to the first two phases of the complex that opened on-campus living arrangements to 352 students in 2016 and 534 in 2021.

In addition to being awarded funding for other specific requests, the university was granted $3 million toward the transition to Utah Tech University. Dixie State is eligible to receive a portion of the $5 million allocated for the Utah Engineering Initiative, which helps colleges and universities increase the supply of highly qualified engineers and computer scientists. Similarly, DSU will be able to apply for some funding from the $2 million allocated for the statewide Healthcare Workforce Initiative, which aims to increase the number and size of healthcare education programs across Utah.

The Legislature allocated funding for continued development of ParksPass, the automated system that streamlines payment at Utah’s state parks. A collaboration among the Utah Division of Parks and Recreation, industry experts and Southern Utah University and Dixie State University students, the web app allows visitors to purchase day-use passes electronically even before entering the park and gives students involved in the project hands-on learning experiences.

“I appreciate our legislators’ dedication to the university, our students, and our upcoming initiatives and projects,” Williams said. “Their support ensures our students can learn and prepare to meet workforce demands for generations to come.”