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UVU breaks ground on Noorda Center for the Performing Arts

2 December 2016 No Comment

University Marketing & Communications: Layton Shumway | 801-863-6863 | LShumway@uvu.edu

For decades, performing arts students at Utah Valley University have had no building to call their own. Thanks to historic contributions from private donors and funding from the Utah State Legislature, that will soon change forever.

After securing more than $22 million in private donations over the past two years, including a lead gift from the Ray & Tye Noorda Foundation and receiving $32 million from the state legislature, UVU broke ground on the Noorda Center for the Performing Arts, the first performing arts building in University history, on Thursday, Dec. 1.

“I’m just so pleased that our 75th anniversary begins and ends with the arts,” said UVU President Matthew S. Holland during the groundbreaking. “Last February, we kicked off our 75th anniversary celebration by announcing that we had raised a record amount of money for the university. Now we conclude our anniversary with the unveiling of the Roots of Knowledge windows — a spectacular work of art in and of itself — and then finally, the groundbreaking of this building.”

Hundreds gathered for the groundbreaking outside the Noorda Theatre on the east side of UVU campus, where the new center will be built. Attendees included major donors, city and county leaders, university faculty and staff, and dozens of students.

“Our students, faculty, and staff have worked very hard to build award-winning arts programs that are gaining national attention, despite limited space, sharing it with students from various other programs,” President Holland said. “This groundbreaking is a significant achievement, and will greatly increase the opportunities we are able to offer performing arts students at Utah Valley University.”

The 130,000-square-foot center will feature a 500-seat proscenium theater with an orchestra pit for live musical performances and opera, and a 900-seat concert hall, which will also serve as Utah Valley’s home for the Utah Symphony. The center will also feature a choral recital hall, a dance theater, 27 practice spaces, 27 teaching studios, production and recording space, piano and computer labs, and conference rooms.

The entrance plaza can also double as an outdoor performing venue and art exhibition space, and the building’s atrium will house exhibitions of student work or other featured artists. The existing Noorda Theatre will be incorporated into the new building.

“We believe UVU is exemplary in providing access to education for all, which is why we are proud to partner with them to create this vital facility that will surely extend more educational and cultural opportunities to the people of Utah,” the Ray & Tye Noorda Foundation stated.

Despite working with limited resources and facilities as the University has exploded in growth, UVU’s School of the Arts has achieved extraordinary success. In 2014, UVU became the first university to win back-to-back top honors at the annual Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in Washington, D.C. UVU’s Ballroom Dance Tour Team won the prestigious British Ballroom Formation Dancing competition in Blackpool, England in 2015. Faculty members at UVU hold degrees from some of the world’s most acclaimed institutions, including The Julliard School, Savannah College of Art & Design, Frankfurt Conservatory and the Peabody Conservatory.

Utah Valley University has more than 1,500 arts majors, the second largest in USHE, and 8,000 students take at least one arts course each semester.

“The arts develop attributes that lead to success in any endeavor,” UVU School of the Arts Dean Newell Dayley said during the groundbreaking. “The arts increase empathy. And this nation needs empathy. We need to feel what others feel. Through the arts we learn collaboration and cooperation like in nothing else. The arts develop the mind in incredible ways.”

President Holland took time during the groundbreaking to publicly recognize the service of Melanie Bastian, who contributed a key gift toward the performing arts center. Bastian died earlier this year after a battle with leukemia.

“If Melanie were here, she would not want us to even acknowledge her by name, but frankly, I have been looking for a public opportunity to pay tribute to her for her service with this gift — and more importantly, for her lifelong service and generosity to Utah Valley University,” President Holland said at the groundbreaking. “In memory of her, it seems a fitting tribute to let her children, who are here, know how thankful UVU is to their mother — not just for donations of money, which have been incredible, but for her willingness to serve this institution and our community in so many important ways, because she was someone who truly cared about the young people of this valley.”

In addition to the lead gift from the Noorda Foundation, more than 1,900 donors contributed funds for the building, and further donations are still being accepted. Other major donors include:

  • Ashton Family Foundation
  • Kem C. Gardner
  • Nu Skin Enterprises
  • Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Foundation
  • OC Tanner Charitable Trust
  • The Scott M. and Karen P. Smith Foundation
  • Zions Bank
  • The Melanie Bastian Family Foundation
  • The Marriott Family Foundations

The $22 million marks the largest amount of private funding raised for a new facility in the university’s history.

“These donors and hundreds of others have played a significant role in this building becoming a reality,” said UVU vice president of development and alumni Scott Cooksey. “Private support is critical to our ability to provide the best teaching and learning experiences to students. UVU is fortunate to have such involved and generous donors helping us achieve our goal of student success.”

The legislature will fund the $32 million it has committed for the building in installments over the next two years. Total cost of the new building is $60 million. The university has committed to raising the remaining funds needed to complete the building. The projected completion date for the new facility is January 2019.

For more information on donations, contact Scott Cooksey at scott.cooksey@uvu.edu or 801-863-5189. For more information on the UVU School of the Arts, call 801-863-6820.


UVU Arts Building Groundbreaking with President Matthew S. Holland and donors and other VIP's on the campus of Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah on Thursday December 1, 2016. (August Miller, UVU Marketing)

UVU Arts Building Groundbreaking with President Matthew S. Holland and donors and other VIP’s on the campus of Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah on Thursday December 1, 2016. (August Miller, UVU Marketing)

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