Utah Valley University’s Thanksgiving Point satellite campus continues to expand to offer additional educational opportunities and partnerships between the university and business communities. The campus, located at 2912 Executive Parkway, opened in 2017 at 13,700 square feet, five classrooms that can house about 30 students each, ten offices, and study areas all housed on the building’s first floor.
After being leased by UVU for about two years, last year the university’s board of trustees approved the purchase of the building for $22.11 million. The purchase closed on April 20. The building is located near 10 acres of land UVU owns and plans to develop in the future.
The building’s purchase allows the university to expand its footprint in the area, which includes undergoing a $750,000 remodel that’s expected to conclude next spring. The campus’s expansion will also transfer the university’s community outreach and economic development team to that space, which will move more of the Orem campus geographically closer to the Silicon Slopes technology industry corridor as 60 employees are relocated to the campus.
“It allows us to have our thumb on the pulse of business in more areas of the county than where we are currently,” said Donna Milakovic, Senior Director of Community Outreach at UVU.
Businesses will continue to lease space within the building, which Milakovic said gives UVU another opportunity to coordinate in the area. The remodel will also create more flexible conference spaces that can be used and will merge a university and business environment into one campus.
The remodel will create flexible teaching spaces that can house 100 people at a time for conferences, add additional opportunities for credit and non-credit offerings, and will offer non-credit executive education and community education opportunities to north Utah County.
Two masters programs are run from the campus, along with UVU’s cybersecurity program. The proximity to Silicon Slopes helps the university to know the industry’s needs, according to Trish Baker, UVU’s Interim Associate Provost of Community Outreach and Economic Development.
“That is a pretty exciting opportunity for us to work with them so closely,” Baker said.
Those partnerships are anticipated to grow as the satellite campus expands. The Master of Business Administration program already partners with technology companies in the area, such as Adobe, Intel, and Xactware, among others. “That link with the technology companies there has been important for us, and will continue to be, as well,” she said.
The campus offers executive education programs and flexible scheduling that clusters multiple classes to limit the number of trips students make.
The campus, with a parking lot across the street from a FrontRunner station, has a close partnership with Mountainland Technical College, which has an adjacent Lehi campus. UVU and MTECH have several agreements and pathways that allow MTECH courses to count toward UVU degrees. Baker said UVU has added to those offerings and is working on pathways for entrepreneurship and health professions programs. She said MTECH students may easily walk across the street to the UVU satellite campus, which will offer more general education classes and has popular evening courses.
Baker said the university will continue to work with the Alpine School District with concurrent enrollment courses, allowing district students to obtain both college and high school credit for the same course. About 35% of the university’s concurrent enrollment students are located north of Orem.
Milakovic said the university began planning for more flexibility in teaching a year and a half ago, which has helped prepare it for planning how classes will resume considering the COVID-19 pandemic and health safety concerns. She said the campus doesn’t know yet how COVID-19 will impact its future. “Most of that is uncharted,” Milakovic said.
The plan is to adjust some remodeling plans to limit open workspaces inside the building. They are also considering adding shields and raising cubicle walls to limit airflow and the potential spread of germs.
Throughout the remodel, Milakovic said UVU is monitoring supply chains to assure construction will be completed on schedule. She said the university’s top priority has been safety as it examines a return of limited face-to-face classroom interactions and will be following all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state guidelines.