While plans for more construction and expansion on campus are being set, Eric Conrad, vice president of operations, said the university wants to be mindful of its effects on the community and costs for students.
“We want to make sure that in the next five to 10 years as we develop campus that we don’t harm the community outside of BYUH,” Conrad said during a public informational meeting on Feb. 15 in the HGB. “This is our community. This is where the majority of our faculty and staff live and work and play.”
Conrad also explained how major steps are being taken to provide the best possible school structure while still maintaining a sustainable growth environment.
In addition, Conrad explained, “We use tithing money for all of the classrooms. The science building is paid for with tithing money. All of the auxiliaries - the Cafeteria, Bookstore, Print Services - none of that is tithing money.” He explained that updates for those would come from a loan that would subsequently need to be paid off.
The consensus about these changes were generally positive among students. Max Orgill, a freshman from Colorado who attended BYUH in 2015 before his mission, shared how excited he is for the new changes. “I really like the new campus designs. I’m most excited about the math and science building. The GCB is really old. I remember in 2015 when I was here, it rained a lot. In my math class we had to find buckets because it would start to leak. These changes will improve campus a lot.”
As a biology major, Orgill shared that he cannot wait for these new changes to come. “Science is always changing and to have more, or just better, equipment would be awesome to help us stay up to date. The current classrooms are limited by the old structure of the McKay Building.”
Teaghan Strong, a music education freshman from Wisconsin, will be leaving on her mission in the coming year. She said she likes the idea of returning to a bigger school in 2020. “I think the school would be much better with more students. The class sizes are so small right now that I feel like I’m in high school sometimes. A larger school will bring a chance for more friends and better opportunities.”
Strong said she will not be directly affected by many of these changes. However, she was clear on one thing she hopes will come with new hales and more students: more lounges. “I think there should be more lounge places that the opposite gender is allowed in, like the kitchen or the courtyard. I think it’s important for people of the opposite gender to have a comfortable place to hang out because they can get to know each other. Isn’t one of the most important commandments to find an eternal companion?”
With high costs to build and maintain these new additions to campus, discussion on raising tuition costs to help with funding are in the mix. For Orgill, even with changes that will help his major, lower tuition is more important than newer buildings. “Building new buildings is the best for the future of the school, but at the same time I think it is important to keep tuition affordable so that everyone can have an opportunity to attend school here.”
Strong shared, “I wouldn’t like having tuition be more expensive. Who would? But I guess compared to other schools in the U.S., tuition is relatively low, so I would be able to handle a little bit more. I think in general the school just needs to find more sustainable options. ... I think people just need to care about our school a little more.”