The final architectural design for Ricks College's new religion building is complete, and construction is expected to begin by late June.
The 60,000 square-foot building will house the college's religion and humanities departments, as well as one campus stake and nine student wards. Space will also be provided for Church activities, as well as academic and social needs."Our board of trustees has been very supportive of the need for this facility and the purposes that will be met," said Ricks College Pres. Steven D. Bennion. "The religion building will be one of the most heavily used buildings on campus and the design will symbolize our spiritual mission."
The college will soon be seeking bids for construction, with ground breaking anticipated in June, and completion by early April 1997, said James Smyth, administrative vice president. The building will be constructed directly south of the Manwaring Center student building, which is on the south portion of campus.
Mack Shirley, Student Life vice president and chairman of the eight-member planning committee, said, "The building is designed to reflect those elements of spirituality and religious reverence that are the trademarks of Ricks College." The committee spent 14 months studying the needs of the religion building.
The religion building will include a chapel that seats 350 people. The chapel can be combined with a cultural hall to seat 2,000 people, he added. "We hope to use it for such things as forums, summer devotionals and stake conferences."
Another feature of the new building will be a student commons area, under a skylight, which can be used as a study area or for socializing. Two kitchens will also be provided for use by Church groups, clubs and organizations.
The building's second floor will house the faculty offices for both departments. The offices will double as ecclesiastical offices on Tuesday nights and Sundays.
"The space needs on campus are far-reaching," Pres. Bennion explained. "This new building will provide major relief in the Smith Building (which currently houses the religion department) and take considerable pressure off the Snow Building (which houses the humanities department)."
The religion building has been designed by the Salt Lake City architectural firm of FFKR (Fowler, Ferguson, Kingston & Rubin). The firm is well known for its design of the Delta Center in Salt Lake City and the BYU Jerusalem Center.
Planning is also underway for the college's new administration building that will be built immediately east of the new religion building. Brother Smyth is chairing that committee.
Construction of the religion building will move the center of campus southward. Once the new Administration Building is completed a new quad will be developed between the religion building and the Manwaring Center.