Demolition of part of the former Intermountain Indian School is now under way, a process that will further Utah State University’s plan to relocate its Brigham City campus.
The demolition is expected to be completed this spring, said Tom Lee, dean and executive director at USU Brigham City. USU has asked for approximately $15 million for the new Brigham City campus building, which would be designed mainly to house administration, and hope to receive the funds from the Legislature during the current session.
Brigham City officials have already committed to bonding for the other half of the cost of the building, which would be located on the site of the old Kmart building at 950 S. Main St.
“We'll see how this session goes,” Lee wrote in an email. “We are cautiously optimistic about the Legislature, but it is hard for the state to set a budget until they (see) what the federal picture is.”
Lee is referring to a sequester that had been put off by the U.S. Congress until March, around the time the state legislative session ends March 14. On Tuesday, President Barack Obama urged Congress to pass a small package of spending cuts and tax increases to delay the major spending cuts set to kick in next month, but Congress has not committed to his request.
The other issue standing in the way of the new building is the order of the Board of Regents’ building prioritization list. The Brigham City building is not one of the top few listed.
“The president has said in various presentations to the Regents and the Legislature this is still a priority,” Lee said.
The Brigham City building requested will be approximately 60,000 square feet in size and house classrooms, faculty and staff offices. Student support spaces such as study space, food services, a bookstore and child care will also be available.
The new site provides “a safer, more favorable location to provide for the expanding needs of this region of the state,” Lee said in an interview last year.
A master plan and concept design has already been developed. There have been at least one community open house for the design and the feedback was positive, Lee said.
“When we do get funding, and are ready to start construction, we will definitely have a groundbreaking, but whether that is sometime this year, or the year after, we won’t know until it gets close to the end of the session,” he said.
The existing Brigham City Regional Campus consists of three attached buildings within a renovated strip mall along a busy intersection near U.S. Highway 89 and U.S. Highway 91. There are very few services to students besides a book store and a common study space.