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The Associated General Contractors of Utah named Weber State University “Owner of the Year” at their 92nd annual convention awards breakfast on Jan. 24.
The task force responsible for choosing the award winners from hundreds of entries is made up of roughly 500 individuals, as well as the 15-member AGC Board of Directors. Joey Gilbert, AGC of Utah vice president, said the vote for WSU was unanimous in the Owner of the Year award.
“What the task force looks at is the skill it takes to build the project, the integrity, quality and safety, performance and contribution that it has on the community,” Gilbert said. “They also look at the quality of the staff and professionals who are running Weber State and their foresight of the future and educational growth of our future work force.”
WSU President Charles Wight said WSU’s last academic year saw an unusually high number of projects completed at the same time. Although they were all started under President Ann Millner’s administration, the needs for construction fluctuate and don’t follow a set time frame or schedule.
“We’ve had five major projects finish up this year, all completed with the help of local general contractors,” Wight said. “You know, I think they just got together and decided with all of the construction, all of the care that we take in making beautiful sustainable buildings, and with the event of our 125th anniversary, they thought it would be a good idea to award us, and we are so very pleased to be acknowledged for that.”
The five projects are the Wildcat Center for Health, Education and Wellness, a 20,000-square-foot gym expansion that cost $8.5 million, paid for by a bond from student fee revenue; the 146-square-foot Davis campus D3 building that cost $39.5 million and houses the nursing, electronics engineering, construction management and interior design programs; Residence Hall 3, the final installment of Wildcat Village; the 73,000-square-foot expansion of the Weber County Sports Complex that cost $9.2 million, provided by Weber County and WSU with 80 percent coming from donors; and the Weber State Downtown store located in the heart of Ogden.
“Building a beautiful and sustainable campus is one of the five priorities of my presidency that I laid out in my inauguration speech in October,” Wight said. “I believe that part of serving this community is acting as a model for the community and having buildings that are not only beautiful functional places to work and to learn, but also models for how to take care of the planet is really important.”
WSU is currently building a new public facilities building on the northwest side of the main campus, and Wight said there is a 90 percent chance construction will begin on the new science center this year.
AGC has a student chapter at WSU. AGC President Richard Thorn said they work closely with WSU construction management faculty and leadership of the university to promote construction as a career for construction management students and create opportunities for all students attending WSU.
Jaime Alvarez, WSU construction management junior and president of the WSU AGC student chapter, said students who get involved have many great opportunities to meet industry leaders, which can benefit them and help them further their career.
“We put together events, we bring people out from within the industry and let the students know what the real industry is like and what type of jobs they can come out and do,” Alvarez said. “There are many career paths they can take in the construction industry, anything from management to estimating to superintendents, so we try to provide that to the students, and as president I try to put together some of those opportunities.”
Alvarez said the awards breakfast was the first time he had been to an event of such magnitude and that it was beneficial to him to see how all the industry leaders come together to celebrate their accomplishments and acknowledge each other.