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APPLIED TECHNOLOGY CENTER IN RICHFIELD STUDYING PLANS FOR $6 MILLION EXPANSION

Preliminary plans for a $6 million building expansion at the Sevier Valley Applied Technology Center in Richfield are being studied by city officials and representatives of the educational institution.

A $2.2 million funding request was approved by the Utah Legislature toward the end of its recent session, paving the way for more teaching space and a community center at the center.Tech and city officials plan to meet with the Utah Community Impact Board April 2 to request a $6 million loan for the project. It is believed that bonds could be purchased with the legislated money to provide sufficient interest revenue to pay back the loan over the next 20 years, according to Kim Blackburn, director of development at the center.

"The whole concept is for this new addition to provide facilities to make Sevier Valley ATC a community center," Blackburn said.

The expansion program would include an arts center, a convention center and auditorium. It would also open the door to establishing an applied manufacturing program and expanded food services facilities as well as provide space to house the Richfield City Library.

Tech officials want Richfield City to act as a government entity for funding requests because the state-operated facility doesn't have a tax base for financial requests. Blackburn emphasized that the city would not be financially obligated to pay off a CIB loan.

Private contributions will also be sought. It was reported that Utah Power is interested in making a contribution, possibly as much as $100,000.

It is anticipated the addition would contain 45,000 square feet, probably on three levels. Part of the plan also calls for remodeling some of the present structure.

Meanwhile, ATC Director Richard Maxfield said the legislature's funding approval was a composite of many compromises. "The mutual support of each entity requesting capital funding was of a greater degree than I've ever seen before." He cautioned, however, that the project won't become a reality "until the money is in the bank, the plans are on the table and we've had a ground-breaking ceremony."

Construction could begin sometime this year.

State senator Cary Peterson and state representatives Brad Johnson, Beverly Evans and Jim Yardley were praised by Maxfield for their efforts in obtaining state funding for the institution.

Maxfield said Neola Brown, a member of the State Board of Education, and Stan Parrish, director of Utah's economic development program, have strongly supported the project as well as Richfield City, Sevier County and Sevier School District officials.

Helping to allay fears of overlapping services by assuring legislators and the governor that the additional space was needed and would be fully utilized were Snow College President Gerald Day, Sevier School Board member Ruth Jackson, Sevier Economic Development Director Richard Leyba and Six-County Economic Development Director Russ Cowley.

Maxfield said the unique nature of the proposal and the Tech's community ties accelerated the project.

"We have our space requirements and the community has space requirements," the director added. "Now we have to work out details on how to meet everyone's needs. All we have is a concept. It will take great flexibility in recognizing the joint nature of the facility and making it work to everyone's advantage."

Sevier Valley Applied Technoogy Center is claimed to be utilized well beyond its normal capacity, and expansion is needed just to handle existing programs. "This new building will also allow us to present new programs that we have waited a long time for," Maxfield concluded.