An Arizona developer wants to give 20 acres to Utah Valley Community College for a Summit County branch campus that may serve 1,200 students within a decade.
UVCC President Kerry Romesburg told the state Board of Regents on Thursday that George Johnson, Scottsdale, Ariz., has agreed to give UVCC 20 acres within his 7,500-acre parcel at the junction of I-80 and U.S. 40 near Park City. The UVCC property would be located next to aerospace firm Lucas Western. Johnson is also willing to construct the UVCC classroom building and let the two-year school buy it over time.That was Thursday. The next day, the regents requested a comprehensive study looking at statewide demographics, specifically population trends in the next 10 to 20 years. The data, which would be gathered over the next year, would be used as a foundation for any regent decisions on future colleges or their branches.
That study request, in essence, postpones any decision on a UVCC branch in Summit County.
"The regents are not prepared to approve anything without the demographics," said regent Paul Rogers, chairman of the capital facilities subcommittee that made the recommendation.
When asked if the Summit County proposal was the catalyst for the study request, Rogers said it was only one reason.
There is mounting pressure from several communities for college campuses, including those who want a community college in Davis County and others who want one in south Salt Lake County, he said.
The regents need demographic data on which to base their decisions on college expansion, he said."We'd rather make decisions that look at long-term trends."
No contracts have been signed on the Summit County proposal.
However, Romesburg previously met with Johnson's architects and Summit County commissioners.
Romesburg said Johnson was currently working to secure the necessary building permits. Johnson could not be reached for comment. A representative of his firm, Johnson International, said Johnson was out of town and unavailable.
A Summit County branch campus would be UVCC's first outside Utah County, although the two-year school operates three Utah County satellite centers in shopping centers. Romesburg compared the relationship between UVCC and a Park City branch to that of the College of Eastern Utah and its Moab branch.
But it wouldn't be the school's first venture in the Park City area. UVCC currently offers vocational education classes, specifically in the culinary and hospitality industry, at several Park City locations.
In January 1993, however, UVCC and the University of Utah will begin classes in leased space in the renovated Carl Winters Junior High in Park City's old town. The building will also house the Park City Library.
If the branch campus eventually gets the go-ahead, Romesburg said, projections put initial enrollment at 200 to 300 students, eventually growing to 1,000 to 1,200 students in 10 years.
The president said he envisions the branch as emphasizing vocational-education/technology courses as well as offering general-education courses.
Higher education is in the midst of a funding crisis. Romesburg said the Park City branch wouldn't draw funds away from the other schools. He said the branch could be made self-supporting by hosting college workshops and conferences.
With the close proximity to winter skiing and summer recreational facilities at Jordanelle Dam, the Park City campus would be an ideal place for UVCC to hold many of its business conferences and workshops, he said.