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BYU to raise its enrollment cap starting next fall

Brigham Young University will raise its enrollment cap starting next fall, signaling the first significant increase to its student body in more than two decades.

The Provo university will increase its enrollment by about 1.5% each year for the next six years, according to Carri Jenkins, a spokeswoman for the university. The increase will begin in fall 2020 with a few hundred students being added to the campus.

The percentage will be based on the university’s current total enrollment, which was previously capped at about 30,000 students.

Jenkins did not provide what the enrollment cap is anticipated to be at after the six years of increases. She said the exact number of additional students is not fixed. While BYU might see a slight increase in its number of transfer students, the increase will be focused on undergraduate students.

She said the change is part of a long-term plan to expand how many students can have a BYU education.

“This goal is part of our inspiring learning initiative, as well as our student success and inclusion efforts,” Jenkins said.

BYU’s board of trustees — made up of the highest-ranking members in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — authorized the university last year to begin exploring moderately raising its enrollment.

BYU last significantly adjusted its enrollment cap in 1998 when it added 2,000 students through a phased increase.

Jenkins said the university does not plan to build additional on-campus student housing to accommodate the increase and it does not anticipate adding new programs.

She said the increase is part of a deeper initiative that includes exploring how to increase its retention rate.

“We would like to see every student who enrolls at BYU complete their education, which would already increase our already high graduation rate of 86%,” she said.

The church-owned university has seen increased popularity and competition as the worldwide church has grown throughout the last several decades. The church claims to have more than 16 million members, with an additional million added every three years through births and baptisms.

Enrollment caps on church-owned schools have stayed mostly unchanged as the church expands. The church owns and operates BYU in addition to BYU-Idaho, BYU-Hawaii, LDS Business College and its newest program, BYU-Pathway Worldwide.

A potential solution to manage growth presented in the 1960s proposed building a junior college system across the nation, with campuses in locations such as Anaheim, Phoenix and Portland, but the proposal was dropped.

BYU recently adjusted its admission process to encompass a more holistic process and place less focus purely on GPAs and ACT scores in order to admit a wider range of students. Even with those efforts, test scores of the admitted freshman classes have remained high.

BYU had an acceptance rate of 68.5% for the 2019 spring/summer/fall admission season, with 7,775 of the 11,356 applicants being accepted, according to information from the university. The accepted students had an average GPA of 3.87 and an average ACT of 28.6, about eight points above the nation’s average composite score.

First fire chief in Mapleton discusses changes during his first year

Almost one year after becoming the first fire chief for the Mapleton Fire Department, Nick Glasgow has worked hard to improve staffing, training and certification requirements for the city firefighters.

But he believes his proudest accomplishment so far has been finding an app that reduced emergency response time by more than a minute and a half.

“We were the first agency in Utah County to use this and it was so successful in Mapleton that the entire county now uses it,” he said.

When someone calls 911 and reports a fire, the I Spy Fire app allows first responders to receive notifications and alerts from dispatchers during the emergency call.

The Mapleton Police Department was the first public safety organization to start using the app in Utah at Glasgow’s request.

“If you could cut a minute and a half off of every single 911 response in the state just by embracing technology, that’s a no-brainer,” he said.

He had used a similar app during his time serving as fire captain paramedic at the Riverside County Fire Department in southern California. Now, the I Spy Fire app is used by dispatchers and fire departments across Utah County.

“I am proud that it started right here in our little town,” Glasgow said.

He started volunteering at the fire department near Riverside, California, when he was 14 years old and worked on an ambulance at age 18. He was hired as a full-time firefighter and paramedic at 25.

After moving to Utah with his wife in 2018, he landed the position as the first paid full-time fire chief for Mapleton.

“It’s an awesome community to work for an awesome group of people I get to work with,” Glasgow said. “I’ve had to stretch and grow and I’ve been right and I’ve been wrong. It’s been a real fun ride and we’ve really enjoyed it.”

One of his first decisions was to combine the city’s Fire Department and EMS department. He hired one full-time leader, 18 part-time firefighters and retained more than 50 volunteer EMS and firefighters to keep the ambulance and rescue truck staffed 24 hours a day.

“When I first was hired, we had pagers and when a call came in, we just hoped for good timing and good luck and we paged everybody and whoever came, came,” Glasgow said. “Now, we actually have people who are on call every day.”

Even in a town with 11,000 people, Glasgow stated most firefighter volunteers leave the city during the day to work other jobs. That makes it hard to recruit volunteers when people need to go to work away from the area.

The average volunteer with no experience needs at least two years of training to be fully certified and ready to respond, he added. Finding balance means being creative about scheduling the volunteers during the evening after work.

“What we tend to do in Mapleton is be realistic that we’re not going to be able to be 100% volunteer fire department with no jobs in town. It’s just not going to work,” Glasgow said. “Our full-time, our part-time and our volunteers have really stepped up to the plate to make Mapleton safer.”

Drawing on experiences from California, Glasgow also helped collect $37,000 in grants and received another $30,000 in cost reimbursement for using equipment and employees to respond to wildfires in other areas of the county.

Improving the safety rating by insurance industry advisory company Insurance Services Office was another accomplishment recognized in 2018.

Every five years, ISO collects information on city fire protection efforts in communities throughout the United States and assigns each community a safety score. Class 1 represents superior property fire protection, and Class 10 means the fire protection program doesn’t meet ISO’s minimum criteria.

The Fire Department ranked as a Class 5 when Glasgow was hired. Now the Mapleton Fire Department ranks as Class 3, according to an evaluation last year.

The higher ranking means home insurance rates will likely lower in January 2020.

“Little by little, we’re safer than we’ve been,” he said. “It shows you the strides we’ve been making as this little town to really do what we need to do to make our citizens safe.”

Lehi man runs a marathon a month while pushing children in stroller

Quality time with his children — that’s what 37-year-old Lehi resident, Ben Hooley, wanted for his birthday.

So, after 37 miles, 3,071 feet of elevation gain and 7 hours, 14 minutes, 55 seconds, he got what he was looking for and a little more.

Hooley loves to run and he loves his children. When his 37th birthday approached, he decided he wanted to run 37 miles to commemorate the milestone. When his two youngest kids, Gehrig, 5, and Emma, 3, expressed a desire to join him, Hooley said he just couldn’t say no.

“I’ve taken my kids on long runs in the stroller for a long time, now, and they love it,” Hooley said. “When my planned birthday run came close, the weather was looking good, and I felt really good, so I figured bringing the kids along would make it better.”

This particular run that took Hooley, his kids and his trusty BOB stroller on the 37-mile distance was actually not the first ultramarathon-distance adventure the trio had taken. In fact, according to Hooley, since the start of the year, he’d planned to run a marathon a month with his kids in tow, and this was just one of those adventures.

“I decided at the end of last year that I wanted to take my kids on a marathon a month throughout 2019,” Hooley said. “Someday, they won’t want to spend all this time with me. Until that day, I’ll spend as much time with them as I can.”

In January, Hooley and his kids set out for their first marathon starting west of the LDS Jordan River Temple, and then to Draper and back. After looking at the route on Strava, a popular running app, Hooley said it looked like the shape of a dog. So, the next month being February, Hooley mapped out a course that looked like a heart, and in March he attempted to create a clover, but said it didn’t quite work out. In April, they did a marathon in Salt Lake City, but he missed taking his kids in May because he ran the Ogden Marathon solo. He made up for it, however, in June when he took them out for a 41-mile run in the mountains, and the trend continued.

According to Hooley, his kids enjoy it as much as he does.

“My kids get so excited to get out in the stroller for an adventure,” Hooley said. “They’re actually really good in the stroller. They don’t have tablets or toys to play with, just the outdoors to look at and Dad to talk to and listen to. I take time to let them get out and play at parks if we pass them. We stop and have picnics. I’ll let them out to run for a bit with me. We talk about what we see when we’re out there.”

Unlike many kids their age, Gherig and Emma have seen a lot of wildlife, like mountain goats on the Timpooneke trail, bighorn sheep and coyotes — but no moose, yet.

Hooley understands there are inherent dangers taking his kids on mountain terrain in a running stroller — things like a broken axle and flat tire. Even so, he takes it all in stride as part of being a dad who knows a little bit about fixing things.

As a bus mechanic for the Utah Transit Authority, Hooley knows a thing or two about repairing things on wheels, which he said has come in handy a few times while out on the run. His job has also allowed him to spend the time he wants to with his kids.

“I got a shift working until 1:30 in the afternoon so I can get home and spend time with my kids,” Hooley said. “My wife works some crazy hours, so it’s good to be able to be home at a decent time. I live right around the corner from an entrance to the Jordan River Parkway Trail, so I’ll pick my son up from preschool and then go for a short run, or I’ll take them on hikes, and we’ll do a longer run on the weekends.”

While the year will soon be coming to a close, Hooley and his stroller duo aren’t showing signs of slowing down. In fact, on Nov. 7, Hooley is looking forward to racing the Santa Run 5K in Provo.

“For the race, I’m going to dress up as Santa and decorate my stroller to look like Santa’s sleigh and put horns on my dog to look like a reindeer,” Hooley said. “I have a weather cover to keep the kids warm inside, and it should be a great time filled with more memories.”

As for next year’s long distance running plans, Hooley says he plans on going the distance as long as his kids will have him.

Olmsted power plant project near Provo Canyon receives top awards

Tucked away on the northeast side of Orem at the mouth of Provo Canyon is the Olmsted Hydroelectric Power Plant.

It recently went through a two-year replacement and now has received top honors for the project.

Engineering News Record has named the Olmsted Hydroelectric Power Plant Replacement the Intermountain Project of the Year as part of its annual awards program dedicated to honoring the best construction projects in the United States, according to a press statement released Wednesday.

The Olmsted project was also recognized as the Best Energy/Industrial Project in the Intermountain Region and received the Excellence in Safety Award.

“The project is working wonderfully,” said Gene Shawcroft, general manager and CEO of the Central Utah Water Conservancy District. “We’re thrilled with the project. It was a great project but not an easy one. Everybody put their heart and soul into it.”

The two-year project included construction of a new powerhouse and a new transmission line that required installing 850 feet of 84-inch steel pipeline into a 12-foot rock tunnel, according to the release.

Much of this work was done during the winter on steep slopes, and required crews to use two excavators to move and install 20-foot sections of penstock, each weighing 22,000 pounds. In total, the project logged more than 250,000 work hours without a reportable accident — a remarkable achievement considering the high-risk construction site, according to the press release.

Olmsted is part of a successful partnership with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Department of the Interior, and Central Utah Water Conservancy District.

The $42 million facility was designed by Jacobs Engineering Group, with Ames Construction as the general contractor. The power plant now provides electricity to more than 3,000 homes.

“We were able to install a very efficient, high-quality, modern plant and deliver a project that continues the legacy of historic generation of power,” said K.C. Shaw, chief engineer at Central Utah Water, which operates the federal facility said in the release.

Olmsted is one of the oldest hydropower generation plants in the western United States. In 1904, Olmsted became the first high-voltage, long-distance, alternating-current power transmission system in the world.

After an evaluation showed the facility was nearing the end of its life, the plant shut down in 2015. Plans for a new facility began in order to maintain water rights and store water in Jordanelle Reservoir.

On Sept. 20, 2018, the Olmsted plant reopened with fanfare and lots of dignitaries praising the project and how it will help the area.

“It’s an amazing celebration,” said Timothy R. Petty, assistant secretary for water and science at the U.S. Department of Interior, at the grand reopening of the plant. “This is the next level of engineering. Hydropower is unique for communities. It represents a unique partnership between the federal government, the state and local (organizations) to really accomplish (what is needed) for the communities.”

As part of the new buildout project on the Olmsted campus, there is a new museum, housed in the old facility, showing photos of the old campus and items used in everyday life from the blacksmiths tools to the old non-electric clothing irons used by students and residents in the small enclave.