Moab Happenings Archive
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University Happenings - April 2022

USU Moab New Campus Bolsters Academics
by Loren Miller, Marketing Manager, Statewide Campuses, University Marketing & Communications

Utah State University Moab will hold the grand opening of its new campus this week, completing a project that has been years in the making. The campus will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony on April 1, 2022, at 3:30 p.m. and will officially open its doors to students for the start of the summer semester.

With its new campus, USU Moab can now offer even more course options to the community and expand on existing programs with state-of-the-art facilities. This expansion will allow USU Moab to be even better at addressing the needs of the community job market, including nursing, recreation resource management and technical education. With a wider array of programs than ever before, the campus hopes those who are considering continuing their education will look no further.

“My hope is that this building will be a welcoming place for local youth and adults who may not have considered college as part of their future,” said Lianna Etchberger, USU Moab associate vice president. “We worked hard to make this an inviting space where all who visit will feel at home. With our new technical certificates added to our degree programming, and non-credit community learning opportunities provided by our partners in Extension, there is truly something for everyone at our new facility.”

The campus will provide space to support several new and expanded programs. A new science teaching laboratory will allow faculty to present hands-on learning opportunities and labs for anatomy and physiology classes. The campus will also now offer new technical education courses in health professions, welding and building construction.

The nursing program will also see several upgrades. These will include a dedicated classroom and a simulation lab that will provide students with enhanced training in high pressure situations and improve their abilities before they enter the job market. While USU Moab already had most of the equipment, it was divided between rooms. Now the equipment will fit all in one place, with the added ability to record training and debrief using video. Connie Wilson, USU Moab’s nursing coordinator, is looking forward to these enhancements.

“This new space is beautiful and will allow us to give our students more realistic simulations and training,” Wilson said. “We’ve already been doing a great job of preparing students for their field, but this space will allow us to do even more and allow us to expand our program even further. This coming fall will be our largest cohort ever. This space will allow us to take even better care of our students and give them higher fidelity learning and simulations.”

USU Moab is also working to expand its technical education programs. The campus is currently expanding its Welding and Fabrication and its Construction and Technology programs. These programs are currently working with Community Advisory Groups to align the programs with the current community needs.

USU has already been busy adding faculty to address community need and expand their offerings to students. One such hire was USU professor Wayne Freimund, who teaches in the Department of Environment and Society. Freimund is an expert in national parks and the tourism industry. With his expertise and networking contacts, Freimund is looking to be a resource to the local community and to bring students and experts together.

“We’ve been able to make some tangible benefits already,” he said. “We have been able to bring some of the local land managers into my courses that I teach virtually. We are also developing a field course that we hope to launch next year and that will bring more students here to actually work side-by-side with some of these managers to collect the data that help make decisions. This campus is a great resource to the community.”

The new Moab building also has a very sustainable design, harnessing solar energy as well as using ground sources for both heating and cooling. Because of this design, the building is estimated to provide 105% of the power that will be consumed annually, producing 276,220 kWh per year. This makes the campus USU’s first net-zero building and will prevent an estimated 196 metric tons of CO2 emissions from being released each year. That is the equivalent of more than 22,000 gallons of consumed gasoline or 216,000 pounds of burned coal. Much of the building’s solar features were funded by a $283,000 grant from Rocky Mountain Power Blue Sky customers, as well as other generous donors.

The building was constructed by MHTN Architects and Hogan & Associates Construction. Some of its features include solar array parking canopies, PVC-free interior finishes and natural material construction. The building also has water conservation measures including rain harvesting for native plant gardens and low-flow, water-sense fixtures throughout. These features, which are all designed to facilitate efficiency and a healthy environment, will lead to a projected LEED Silver certification. It is another way USU is looking to be a sustainable place for students to learn.

“I think the campus is a very inspirational setting for learning,” Freimund said. “It is built in a way that demonstrates some of what we can be striving for in sustainability. It will not only be a great place for students to spend their time, but it is going to be great for faculty and staff as well. I’m anticipating it being a very positive learning environment.”

USU Moab will continue to gauge the local needs of the community and seek to provide the training necessary to continue Moab’s growth, as well as the growth and success of job markets in the surrounding region. This is at the forefront of the campus’ desires for the success of its students and the community.

The new building will also house the Moab Business Resource Center, which provides resources to support small business in the area, as well as USU Extension. Grand County Extension provides community learning opportunities in subjects such as agriculture, horticulture, natural resources, and home/community related subjects. Extension also collaborates with other local entities to provide classes and other hands-on learning experiences to improve the lives of local residents.

For more information on USU Moab’s new campus and how to get involved, visit

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