Southern Utah University Enhances Student Center

CEDAR CITY, Utah — Almost 10 years in the making, major changes are underway to the Sharwan Smith Student Center at Southern Utah University (SUU) in Cedar City. Among those changes are relocating several offices, adding a clerestory in the main hallway and applying new flooring and fresh paint to modernize the building.

The main goal of the $1.5 million project is to keep the Sharwan Smith Student Center up-to-date and to reflect a more direct relationship to the university and institutional branding, according to Tiger Funk, director of Facilities Management and Planning. The hallway portion of the project will feature more natural light and enhance the feel of the main hallway on the east end of the building. The project will also replace a significant portion of roofing, which has reached the end of its life cycle. Other spaces in the building are being adjusted to enhance use and ensure key components are given proper exposure.

The clerestory will be added to enhance the building’s interior. By enlarging the overhead space and adding natural light, the main hallway will begin to take on a unique characteristic of bringing the outside inside, according to Funk.

While the project does not specifically target the millennial demographic, its intent is to make the space appeal to a wide range of visitors, regardless of their age, Funk said. “By keeping our buildings in top condition and providing innovative spaces that people generally find attractive, all of the facilities on campus play a key role in attracting new students, faculty, staff and visitors to campus,” he added.

The project began in early June and is scheduled for completion before the start of the fall semester this year. Dallas-based MESA is serving as the architect on the project, while Carter Enterprises is working on the center’s flooring, Zwick Construction is completing the clerestory and Nichols Building LLC is renovating the Outdoor Recreation Center. All three companies are based locally.

Approximately $900,000 of the $1.5 million project budget comes from student fees collected over the past several years. The hallway renovation and construction of the clerestory will be supported by capital improvement funds from the Utah Legislature.

The student center renovation will follow the opening of the school’s new Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts, which debuted on July 7. The center is the new home of the Utah Shakespeare Festival and SUU’s Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA).