OREM -- It wasn't like a typical ribbon cutting with a giant red bow and big scissors; instead the ribbon cutting for UVU's new state-of-the-art science building used science to "cut" the ribbon. Liquid nitrogen was poured on the big green ribbon, freezing it solid before special guests used hammers to shatter the frozen ribbon.
The new 160,000-square-foot building adds 1,715 classroom seats, 198 computer work spaces, 39 labs, 57 offices and three teaching green houses to UVU, bringing much needed space to the science department.
"We now have room to do science," said Sam Rushforth, dean of the UVU College of Science & Health. "And everything is cutting edge. Nothing in this building is second class."
The building is open a little less than two years after the groundbreaking ceremony in August 2010, and according to Gov. Gary Herbert the project not only finished early but $10 million under budget.
"This is a new chapter in the history of this institution," UVU president Matt Holland said. "I couldn't be more excited about what this means for the university."
The building not only adds more space but also holds several research facilities, including 30 sub-zero freezers, seven high-powered centrifuge spaces, two vacuum ovens and 12 specialized research labs.
Students in the science department say they are looking forward to using the new space and equipment.
"It is going to be really great," said Dylan Dastrup, a junior in geology. "Right now every class is full and some of them are in closet-like spaces. It will be nice to have space and not have to work in Harry Potter classrooms."
Proposals for the building started more than 10 years ago when Rushforth began petitioning for the funding for a new science building. The actual funding wasn't approved until April 2010, due in a large part to students on campus lobbying for the new building.
Kristopher Lange was head of that student committee, and, although he has graduated, said he is proud to have helped with the process.
"I knew this building would benefit the state of Utah and the students that would come after me," Lange said. "Future scientists and nurses and doctors will come from this building."
Students helped raise money for the building by giving hair cuts in the hallway, collecting old shoes for a profit, signing petitions and calling legislatures on capitol hill to let them know they wanted the space.
Lange and other students got to help design some of the building, including several study areas and the atrium, but he said the building turned out better than he imagined.
"It is more remarkable and more beautiful than I ever thought possible," Lange said. "This is a huge day for students here at UVU. We have lacked the classroom and science space. For years, we've needed this."
The new building brings space in the Pope science building to a total of 220,000 feet and will be used starting immediately.