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Qualtrics to add 1,000 jobs, on-site daycare at Provo headquarters

Provo-based Qualtrics, which creates software to enhance customer experience, announced Thursday it will double the size of its Provo headquarters, adding over 1,000 new jobs in the next five years.

Qualtrics also announced Thursday it will launch a 40,000-square-foot on-site child care facility, “Cloud Village,” that will include a tech-infused curriculum offering age-appropriate STEM education in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, and be located just across the street from Qualtrics headquarters. According to a press release, the building will have three stories, and be able to care for children age 3 months to 5 years of age.

“We are passionate about Utah and are excited to more than double the size of our current tech campus here. Qualtrics continues to be a hypergrowth company as we add both customers and employees at an incredible rate,” said Ryan Smith, co-founder and CEO of Qualtrics. “We couldn’t be more excited about introducing a new kind of on-site day care as a central piece of our expansion. Part of our mission at Qualtrics is to rid the world of bad experiences, and the launch of the on-site day care is an important step in providing needed support to working parents.”

The day care and 150,000-square-foot office expansion will more than double the size of the current Qualtrics campus, bringing the campus size to 355,000 square feet. The office expansion will open in spring 2021, the press release states, and feature an outdoor terrace equipped with conference areas, meeting spaces, garden views and two new parking structures.

The day care, Cloud Village, will be managed by Ann Whittaker, who founded the award-winning preschool Kids Village almost 20 years ago, according to the press release.

“At Cloud Village we will be focused on developing both the minds and character of children attending the day care,” said Whittaker. “Our goal is for the children to look forward to coming to our facility every day to foster their love of learning and exploration. With the help of innovative technology, teachers will be able to deliver superior care and children will be able to enjoy the learning process.”

This announcement comes after several expansion announcements the company has made this year, including a new Qualtrics Tower in Seattle which spans 275,000 square feet and will house over 2,000 employees; a new office building in Dublin which will add 350 additional jobs, doubling the number of employees in that region to over 700; and a new 25,000-square-foot office in Chicago that will house 200 employees.

The press release states Qualtrics currently employs over 3,000 people worldwide, and plans to employ more than 8,000 by 2023.

See a video accompanying this announcement, complete with renderings of the expansion, by visiting this YouTube at https://youtu.be/pVVy8YatBI0.

Springville getting school for the deaf and blind

On nice days, large, glass garage-like doors can open on the sides of the cafeteria area for the Springville campus of the Schools for the Deaf and Blind, bringing in a literal breath of fresh air to the school.

“I can’t wait to see this space when the trees are in bloom and these doors are open and the inside and outside are the same experience,” Joel Coleman, the superintendent for the Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind, said as he stood in the space Thursday in a hardhat and long coat.

That day is coming soon. Construction started on the $13 million school in March and is expected to be complete in January. Its students have been housed in portables across Utah County in the meantime.

The school, designed by Jacoby Architects, includes architectural features to help students who have hearing or vision loss navigate the facility. Those include wide, open spaces so students can sign to each other, contrasting colors to help the vision impaired locate parts of the school and floor materials that change so that students who use canes know where they are.

“They were able to design in all the things that make a difference for the kids,” Coleman said.

When complete, the school will have 14 classrooms that will each hold from four to 13 students. The building will start out as an elementary school and will eventually house some middle school students.

The playgrounds are designed to be navigable for students who are blind and were created without wood chips so that students in wheelchairs can use them. The school also includes a sensory garden for students who are blind.

The Springville school is expected to see students from Nephi up to Orem. As more children are born in Utah County, Coleman said the state expects to see the number of children with disabilities increase, as well.

While other states have students with vision impairments or hearing loss in mainstream classrooms, Coleman said Utah allows families to choose between a traditional school or one of the Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind. Coleman said the specialized schools give students the tools they need to be self-reliant.

“We want them, like any other child, to make a difference in the world,” he said.

The Springville location is located just south of the Clyde Recreation Center and will join campuses in Ogden, Orem and Salt Lake City.

Spanish Fork City Council adds new neighborhood commercial zones; some residents worry about future development

The Spanish Fork City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve zoning map and General Plan amendments that will create new mixed use and neighborhood commercial zones.

The General Plan change will turn a public facilities zone east of U.S. Highway 6 into a mixed-use zone. Public facilities zones in the city are used for services “necessary for the efficient function of the local community,” such as cemeteries, libraries and court buildings, while mixed-use zones are designated for “a mix of limited residential, retail, personal services business services and office uses.”

As for the zoning map, rural residential zoning off of Spanish Fork Parkway will become neighborhood commercial zoning, uses for which include convenience stores, child care centers, financial institutions, municipal facilities and restaurants.

The council originally considered changing the rural residential zone to a general commercial zone, which could be used for larger-scale commercial projects like event centers, hotels and private clubs, as well as for uses allowed in neighborhood commercial zones.

Some Spanish Fork residents raised concerns at Tuesday’s meeting that establishing a general commercial zone would lead to greater expansion in the future, undermining the rural appeal of the city.

“My biggest concern is the precedent that it will set for future development needs,” Spanish Fork resident Rachel Heath said about the potential general commercial zone.

Another concern Heath had with commercial development at the Spanish Fork Parkway and U.S. 6 intersection is that it will cause increased traffic and crashes in the already busy area.

Councilman Keir Scoubes said commercial development of fast food chains and restaurants could decrease traffic by giving high school students lunch options closer to schools. “(Commercial development) would make it so these kids are not in a rush to get out onto the highway,” Scoubes said. “It would slow traffic down.”

Lt. Matt Johnson, of the Spanish Fork Police Department, presented traffic accident data showing that there have been 100 accidents on Spanish Fork Parkway since January 2006, adding that the Utah Department of Transportation has made “significant improvements” to safety by installing warning lights and left turn-only lanes.

Responding to resident concerns that building more convenience stores and gas stations would lead to increased crime and robberies, Johnson said there have only been three gas station robberies in Spanish Fork since 2006, one of which was an attempted aggravated carjacking in the parking lot.

Heath said she supported changing the zone to neighborhood commercial as opposed to general commercial, but that she is concerned about future development in the city.

“I don’t want to be that house that, if Spanish Fork Parkway needs to become a four-way highway, that you have to buy ... in 20 or 30 years and tear it down to widen the road,” Heath said.

Lane closures expected on I-15 near Lehi for weekend construction

Drivers traveling on Interstate 15 should prepare for some delays near Lehi as construction continues on the Technology Corridor project this weekend.

The Utah Department of Transportation stated northbound I-15 will be reduced to four lanes beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday. More lanes may close after 9:30 p.m., according to the press release.

On Sunday, the freeway will be reduced to three northbound lanes until noon.

“Although crews may not be on-site during these lane closures, they are needed to allow concrete to cure for a new I-15 bridge over Lehi Main Street,” officials wrote in the press release.

There were also be reduced lanes in Taylorsville along Bangerter Highway from 9 p.m. Friday to at 5 a.m. Monday.

The highway will have one northbound lane and two southbound lanes open near 6200 South so crews can relocate a water line underneath the intersection.

All construction schedules are subject to change depending on the weather.

Police identify pedestrian killed in American Fork hit and run, suspect driver arrested

Officers arrested an American Fork man who reportedly fled the scene after striking and killing a pedestrian with his truck earlier this week in American Fork.

Darrell Allen Day, 37, was booked into the Utah County Jail for investigation of failure to remain at an accident involving death, a third-degree felony.

Officers and EMS personnel responded to 280 E. Main St. around 8 p.m. on Monday on reports that a male pedestrian had been struck by a vehicle.

Scott Sleator, 64, died of his injuries before emergency responders arrived, according to a press release from the American Fork Police Department.

After speaking with witnesses and retrieving surveillance footage of the collision, investigators learned Sleator had been walking in a dark area in the middle of the road without a crosswalk.

“As (the vehicle) approached the pedestrian, it made no effort to swerve or brake until after (the vehicle) collided with the pedestrian,” police reported in a probable cause report.

The collision pushed the pedestrian to the opposite side of the road where the man was hit again by a second vehicle traveling in the opposite direction. Police reported the second driver hit the brakes but was unable to avoid striking Sleator.

The first vehicle reportedly slowed down substantially for a few seconds after the crash before quickly accelerating away from the street, according to the police report.

“The second vehicle involved stopped immediately after colliding with the pedestrian. The driver of this vehicle immediately summoned emergency services,” the report stated.

At the scene, investigators recovered white paint chips and a full headlight assembly belonging to the first vehicle, a white 2006-2009 Dodge Ram with a cargo style shell and double doors on the rear.

“Since the crash, investigators had spent hours investigating the incident which included collecting video surveillance from multiple businesses,” a department press release stated. “Through that surveillance, they were eventually able to determine the neighborhood the suspect vehicle likely came from.”

A resident also called the police department and reported Day could be the owner of the truck involved in the crash. Another resident also reportedly talked with Day and advised him to contact investigators.

Day reportedly turned himself in later on Wednesday, police reported. In interviews with investigators, police say that he said he knew he struck the pedestrian but fled the scene because he didn’t want to go to jail.

Investigators do not believe he was impaired or distracted at the time of the crash, the press release stated.

“Our hearts are still broken for the family of Scott Sleator who was killed,” investigators wrote in the press release. “We appreciate the media and citizens who helped share this story. We appreciate all the businesses who assisted by providing video surveillance and also the many citizens who called in tips.”

Day reportedly had a suspended driver’s license at the time of the crash and a warrant issued for his arrest for a traffic offense in Salt Lake County.

The probable cause police report stated Day has previously been convicted of multiple thefts, drug offenses and possession of a weapon by a restricted person.