Myth Busting at Dixie Tech College
After years of planning, dreaming, working, and fundraising, the Dixie Technical College permanent campus is a reality. It stands atop the old airport hill on what is now Tech Ridge Drive as a beacon to people who want to improve their lives by improving their employability. The project was big;162,000 square feet to be exact. And it came with a price tag of $42,400,000. It is everything leaders at the College wanted it to be! Unfortunately, with anything this important, there are a few naysayers who are putting out some very negative myths.
Here’s to myth busting at Dixie Tech!
Myth #1: The Dixie Tech project is over scope and over budget.
FALSE! The Dixie Tech project scope was approved by the legislature in 2015 at 177,000 square feet (sf) and $44,900,000. The final project is 162,000 sf and $42,400,000. That is 15,000 sf smaller and $2,500,000 under budget!
Myth #2: The Dixie Tech project was funded, in part, by an “unauthorized” bond.
FALSE! The project was funded by a a legislative appropriation of $31,900,000. Bonding was part of the plan from its inception. Originally, the bond was authorized and set at $8,000,000. The bond limit was raised, with authorization from Washington County, the Dixie Tech Board of Directors, the Utah System of Technical Colleges Board of Trustees, and the Legislature to $9,000,000 last year between January and March. When the bond was pulled, it was for $8,500,000. Private funds for the project have exceeded $2,000,000.
Myth #3: Dixie Tech doesn’t have the money to make the bond payment.
FALSE! Dixie Tech leadership has the money and has budgeted the money to make the bond payment. For the last six years, the college has operated with a balanced budget. They have had five years of clean audits. The leadership team has planned and budgeted for the bond payment and the money is there to make it.
Myth #4: The College is overbuilt for the area.
FALSE! Washington County is one of the fastest growing communities in the nation. 162,000 sf is hardly too big. For years, classes were held in tight spaces which put artificial limits on the number of students who could get into programs. The new space allows more students in programs, which means more specifically trained employees to meet the needs of local employers. For example, the Pharmacy Technician Program was limited to 16 students at a time in the old space. The January cohort opened with 28 students! New space also makes four new programs available: Auto Tech, Collision Repair, Welding, and Culinary Arts. It also includes space for a Practical Nursing Program which the college is seeking funding for in this legislative session. The building will fill to capacity within a very short time.
Myth #5: The College is too nice.
FALSE! What kind of people would be foolish enough to make such a statement? Yet some do. The new campus is fantastic! It’s wonderful! It’s inspiring! It is every good thing that it could possibly be. And rightly so. The students who train there will go to work to provide the infrastructure for our communities. They are quite literally, our life blood. The skills they acquire touch our lives every single day. They graduate without debt and go to work, contributing to society in multiple ways. Our students deserve the very best space in which to learn and improve their lives. And incidentally, nice space doesn’t necessarily mean expensive space. The Dixie Tech project came in at $218 per square foot in construction costs, significantly under all other state projects constructed during the same time frame. Method Studio, Layton Construction, and Dixie Tech leadership worked closely, paying attention to detail, and using local talent wherever and whenever possible. Everyone was committed to giving Washington County the best technical college.
Myth #6: Former college president Kelle Stephens was terminated because of mis-steps with the new campus facility.
FALSE! All of President Stephens’ decisions regarding the permanent campus were made in cooperation with the Dixie Tech Board of Directors and received approval from State legislators, County and local officials. To date, there has been no public reason given for her termination by the USTC Board of Trustees. President Stephens worked tirelessly to see that Washington County got the very best technical college, not just in structure, but in quality of programs and quality of services to students and the community. We would not have Dixie Tech College as we know it without her.
Myth #7: Dixie Tech has something for everyone.
TRUE! Whether you are just starting out, looking for a new skill set, or re-tooling for yet another career, Dixie Tech has something for you.
Myths busted! Dixie Tech invites the Dixie Community to come and see the new campus for yourself. See how this college can change your life or the life of someone close to you. Call 435-674-8400 to schedule a tour or visit the college in person.