Tooele City and the greater Tooele County community are on the verge of a new level of greatness that may be without precedent in the area’s history. You could feel it through the tarmac at the city’s long-closed and abandoned airport last week.
What caused all the good vibes and high hopes for a brighter future was the groundbreaking ceremony for Utah State University – Tooele Regional Campus’ new $9.8 million, 33,000 square-foot Science and Technology Building.
More than 200 guests were there for the occasion held at the city’s old airport. They heard USU officials and others say the addition, to be built on Tooele Boulevard just south of the Community Learning Center and Tooele Applied Technology College, will propel the Logan-based university’s presence in the county to the forefront of higher education.
As reported in last Tuesday’s front-page story, “USU breaks ground on new building,” the facility will include labs for biology, chemistry and physics, a research lab, an anatomy and physiology lab, plus classrooms and office space. The new building will also include new technology that will allow for instruction to be broadcast in from other campuses in real time. Conversely, it will allow for instruction to be broadcast out.
All of this is exciting stuff you’d think would only be cultivated in a community with a more-established background in the sciences, and nearby business and private sectors busy in science-related fields. But thankfully, USU is making the investment here.
Contributing to that excitement, less than a year ago, the new $15.5 million Tooele Applied Technology College officially opened. The two-story modern edifice is an impressive addition to Tooele City’s “Education Boulevard.” Step inside the building and its architecture quickly orients the mind and spirit toward the pursuit of knowledge.
And just three years before, the nearby Community Learning Center opened. Built by the Tooele County School District, the school offers a unique environment in which a variety of students can earn a high school diploma, take college classes, or begin a vocational career.
A lot has happened at Tooele City’s Business Park since USU built its Tooele regional campus there in 1995. More widely branded today as the city’s “education corridor” than a citadel for business and industry, the area in the past 19 years — and more specifically in the past five years — has sustained breathtaking growth in institutions of higher learning. Also since then, more than 1,000 local students have graduated with college degrees — without leaving the county.
When completed, the new USU Science and Technology Building, and the existing TATC, CLC and USU Tooele Regional Campus, will further increase the educational level of the local workforce and its capacity to better compete in the global market place.
The new school will also positively impact the county’s quality of life, pump more dollars into the local economy, and encourage like-minded businesses and industries to relocate, expand or build new operations here. We’re ultimately talking about creating an opportunity for a greater number of local citizens to step toward more fulfilled lives.
The ground upon which all those facilities stand, and in part the future USU Science and Technology Building, was donated by Tooele City Hall for the purpose of higher education more than 25 years ago. That decision has truly proven to be visionary.