MOAB — Ground was broken this week for Utah State University’s Moab campus, sans the usual fanfare of balloon arches and officials in hard hats turning the ground with ceremonial shovels.

However, the start of the long-anticipated facility was celebrated virtually, with USU President Noelle Cockett sharing remarks from Logan.

“We are so excited to be able to bring this project to fruition after literally years of effort by several individuals and the community,” she said.

“We are especially thankful to the leadership of Moab city, to the officials in Grand County and the state Legislature for helping us secure the funding that we needed to make this new building possible. We’ll be able to expand our educational opportunities that we deliver to this area, including several technical education programs, such as fabrication welding, building construction and health professions,” Cockett said.

The 22,500-square-foot facility will have indoor and outdoor spaces for hands-on learning experiences. The building, located on a 40-acre parcel of state trust lands south of Moab, will be a combustion-free, net-zero energy building designed to harness solar energy.

The total estimated cost is $14 million, with half coming from institutional funds. Other funding includes a $1 million appropriation from the Utah Legislature, $1 million from the city of Moab and Grand County, and Community Development Finance Alliance tax credits.

Other contributors are Peter Lawson, Jennifer Speers, the Janet Quinney Lawson Foundation, the Emma Eccles Jones Foundation, the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, Moab Regional Hospital, Desert Rivers Credit Union, the Holyoak Family and a Rocky Mountain Power Blue Sky Renewable Energy Grant.

Contributor Peter Lawson said in a statement that he hopes the new facility “can provide inspiration for the people who use it — students, faculty and visitors alike.”

USU Moab classes will be offered at the facility, as will career and technical education programs, which are also offered to area high school students, and the services of Extension, which provides research-based programs and resources to improve the lives of Utahns.

USU has served the Grand County community for more than 50 years and the new location will further expand its educational offerings.

USU Moab will feature new academic facilities for fabrication and welding; building construction; health professions; science teaching and an Extension demonstration kitchen.

Housing for students/residents of Moab is in the planning stages with the city of Moab on the property adjacent to the new campus. That project will be developed by GWC Capital.

USU acquired 40 acres in Moab in 2012 for future development of a regional campus. This building will be the first facility on the new campus property. It will allow all existing USU programs to be relocated from two commercial buildings that currently constitute the USU Moab campus.

The new facility will provide classrooms as well as space for nursing and health profession labs, a computer lab and a testing center.

The building will be USU’s first net-zero energy facility, featuring the university’s largest solar array placed in parking canopies that double as parking shade structures.

It will utilize ground-source heating and cooling and employ water conservation measures including rain harvesting for permaculture gardens incorporating native plantings and low-flow, water-sense fixtures throughout.

Construction of the USU Moab facility will continue throughout the rest of the year and throughout 2021. A 2022 grand opening is anticipated.

For more information to see a live webcam feed of the construction, visit