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Breaking down to build up the 'Spirit of the Y'

BYU campus construction beautifies, meets new needs

Ecclesiastes declares that there is "a time to break down, and a time to build up" (Ecclesiastes 3:3).

For Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, the campus is often in such a state, with old buildings being torn down and new ones being built up, all helping to meet emerging needs, retain an inviting atmosphere and keep the "Spirit of the Y" for which the Mormon campus is known.

From the demolition of Deseret Towers to the building of a new broadcasting center, the following is a look at some of the most recent construction projects at BYU:

BYU's five Deseret Towers, which each housed approximately 264 students, were demolished from 2006 to 2008. The towers were located on 9th East in Provo, Utah, and were first built in 1963.
BYU's five Deseret Towers, which each housed approximately 264 students, were demolished from 2006 to 2008. The towers were located on 9th East in Provo, Utah, and were first built in 1963.

Reconstruction of Heritage Halls Dorms

When the seven-story Deseret Towers (commonly called "DT") came tumbling down in scheduled track hoe demolitions from 2006-2008, many students and alumni who had lived there were as curious to know what would go in up their place as they were sad to see them go.

The answer came in 2011 when the university started construction in the DT's place on new apartment-style dormitories that the university anticipates will eventually replace the existing Heritage Halls on 9th East. Each new, four-story hall, built with pitched roofs and red brick walls, will house between 180 and 220 students.

Eight new, four-story residence halls are being constructed in the Deseret Towers' place and may eventually replace the existing Heritage Halls, also located on 9th East in Provo, Utah.
Eight new, four-story residence halls are being constructed in the Deseret Towers' place and may eventually replace the existing Heritage Halls, also located on 9th East in Provo, Utah. Photo: Photo courtesy of Jonathan Hardy, BYU Photo, Photo courtesy of Jonathan Hardy

Because student housing needs and interests are increasingly favoring apartment-style living since the original Deseret Towers were first built in 1964, the university is planning to build a total of eight new halls to accommodate those preferences, said BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins.

An artist's rendering shows the completed housing development that replaces the old Deseret Towers.
An artist's rendering shows the completed housing development that replaces the old Deseret Towers. Photo: Image courtesy of BYU

In construction phases that will occur through winter 2014, the university anticipates existing Heritage Halls buildings will be razed to make room for new ones in the updated building style. Nine existing halls located off of 9th East are being demolished.

"The new halls have been designed for maximum flexibility and adaptability," Sister Jenkins said, citing increasing electronic device use as an example of modern student needs that necessitate dormitory design changes.

"Before we began building these new residence halls, we very carefully studied the needs of the students and looked at retrofitting the old Deseret Towers and existing Heritage Halls, but it proved impractical," she continued.

The 33,000-square-foot Benjamin Cluff Building on the south end of BYU's campus was torn down to make way for the new Life Sciences Building, announced in November 2011.
The 33,000-square-foot Benjamin Cluff Building on the south end of BYU's campus was torn down to make way for the new Life Sciences Building, announced in November 2011. Photo: Photo courtesy of Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photo, Photo courtesy of Jaren Wilkey,

Construction was completed in 2011 for four of the new Heritage Halls dorms, all of which are now occupied by students. Two additional halls will be completed by fall 2013, with the remaining two buildings scheduled for completion by winter 2014.

Sister Jenkins also said that BYU is designing the surrounding landscape for optimal green space to enhance the pedestrian nature of campus.

Construction of New Life Sciences Building and Greenhouses

An artist's rendering of the new Life Sciences Building, with the view from the southwest.
An artist's rendering of the new Life Sciences Building, with the view from the southwest. Photo: Courtesy of BYU

In November 2011, BYU announced that the university's Board of Trustees approved a new 265,000-square-foot, five-level Life Sciences Building to replace the aging 211,000-square-foot John A. Widtsoe Building at the mouth of Campus Drive.

In a BYU news release, Brian Evans, administrative vice president at BYU, said that the new building "will serve as a gateway for the south end of the BYU campus."

An artist's rendering of the new Life Sciences Building, with the view from the southwest.
An artist's rendering of the new Life Sciences Building, with the view from the southwest. Photo: Courtesy of BYU

"It will be a welcoming and inviting building and will include a center corridor that will lead students directly up the hill to campus," he added.

Once completed and occupied by late 2014, the new structure will house 16 teaching labs, three auditoriums, four conference rooms and more than 70 academic offices. In addition, the building will integrate a three-level, 250-stall parking garage.

The school's greenhouses, a part of the Benjamin Cluff Building's Plant Sciences Lab, were demolished to make room for the new BYU Life Sciences Building.
The school's greenhouses, a part of the Benjamin Cluff Building's Plant Sciences Lab, were demolished to make room for the new BYU Life Sciences Building. Photo: Photo courtesy of Jaren Wilkey, BYU

In order to make room for the new hillside building, a few existing structures were razed in the fall: the nearly 33,000-square-foot Benjamin Cluff Building, built in 1954 and named after BYU's third president, and the BYU greenhouse facilities. New greenhouses, with updated climate controls and air conditioning, were recently built on BYU property adjacent to nearby Kiwanis Park in time to move existing greenhouse plants before winter weather set in.

New greenhouses were built on campus property near the neighboring Kiwanis Park in eastern Provo, Utah, before the old greenhouses were torn down.
New greenhouses were built on campus property near the neighboring Kiwanis Park in eastern Provo, Utah, before the old greenhouses were torn down. Photo: Photo courtesy of Jaren Wilkey, BYU
A BYU employee works in the new BYU Life Sciences greenhouses, which feature updated climate controls and air conditioning.
A BYU employee works in the new BYU Life Sciences greenhouses, which feature updated climate controls and air conditioning. Photo: Photo courtesy of Jaren Wilkey, BYU

Upon completion of the new Life Sciences Building, the existing nine-story Widtsoe Building will be torn down.

A three-camera panoramic live stream of the construction is available at webcam.byu.edu.

Addition to Monte L. Bean Science Museum

At the same time the new BYU Life Sciences Building was announced, a 30,000-square-foot expansion of the Monte L. Bean Museum was revealed.
At the same time the new BYU Life Sciences Building was announced, a 30,000-square-foot expansion of the Monte L. Bean Museum was revealed. Photo: Image courtesy of BYU

At the same time the new Life Sciences Building was announced, BYU also revealed a 30,000-square-foot addition to the Monte L. Bean Life Sciences Museum, originally built in 1978. The museum is located just north of the Centennial Carillon Bell Tower and currently houses 10 biological collections — including plant, insect, reptile and mammal species — that support the teaching and research efforts of the College of Life Sciences.

The Monte L. Bean museum currently houses 10 biological collections that support the teaching and research efforts of the College of Life Sciences, including plant, insect, reptile and mammal collections. A new bird and bird art exhibit containing pieces from President Boyd K. Packer's collection will be featured as part of the museum's expansion.
The Monte L. Bean museum currently houses 10 biological collections that support the teaching and research efforts of the College of Life Sciences, including plant, insect, reptile and mammal collections. A new bird and bird art exhibit containing pieces from President Boyd K. Packer's collection will be featured as part of the museum's expansion. Photo: Photo by Stuart Johnson, Deseret News

With the new addition, which will be built as an eastern wing for the existing three-level museum, a new bird and bird art collection will serve as a centerpiece exhibit. Many pieces for this exhibit, including bird carvings and other artwork currently housed in the Church Museum in Salt Lake City, come from a collection donated by President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve.

Larry St. Clair, director of the museum and one of its curators, said that President Packer's addition to the museum is homage to his role as a naturalist as well as an apostle.

"President Packer has always had a connection and fondness of the museum," Brother St. Clair said. "He views the museum as a place where we do cutting-edge research and as a place where we can bear testimony of the Creator. President Packer's beautiful birds not only honor his [own] life but also witness of their Creator."

With the museum's expansion some 60 to 80 new exhibits will also be added throughout the next several years, Brother St. Clair added.

Reconstruction of Tree of Wisdom Sculpture

In October 2011, workers demolished the landmark Tree of Wisdom sculpture, originally placed on BYU's campus in 1975, due to deterioration. The sculpture will be replaced with a replica.
In October 2011, workers demolished the landmark Tree of Wisdom sculpture, originally placed on BYU's campus in 1975, due to deterioration. The sculpture will be replaced with a replica. Photo: Photo by Marianne Holman

A longtime icon on campus, the Tree of Wisdom sculpture south of the Spencer W. Kimball Tower had stood since 1975 as a symbol of education giving root to the mind. Until October 2011.

The 20-ton white, concrete sculpture was demolished last year due to deterioration. But Sister Jenkins said the school aims to rebuild it.

A student studies under BYU's Tree of Wisdom sculpture, which stood for 36 years. According to the sculpture's designer, BYU faculty member Frank Nackos, the art represents both the planting of spiritual roots and the blossoming toward godliness.
A student studies under BYU's Tree of Wisdom sculpture, which stood for 36 years. According to the sculpture's designer, BYU faculty member Frank Nackos, the art represents both the planting of spiritual roots and the blossoming toward godliness. Photo: Photo courtesy of Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photo, Photo courtesy of Jaren Wilkey

"Through years of wear and tear, the sculpture had become structurally unsound," she said. "The plan at this point is to place a replica of the sculpture at the same location in the spring."

The new sculpture will retain the same shape, dimensions and white color of the original but will be built out of stronger materials, designed to better withstand the elements.

Originally constructed after winning a campus art contest in 1975, the sculpture was designed by BYU professor Frank Nackos, who said that the tree symbolizes both the planting of spiritual roots and the blossoming toward godliness.

"It's an important icon to both our present students and our past students," Sister Jenkins said of the sculpture. "It's something people show their children when they return to the university."

The white, concrete Tree of Wisdom sculpture weighed some 20 tons and was torn down due to deterioration that made it more logical to rebuild. A replica, which will be built in spring, will retain the same shape, dimensions and white color of the original but will be built out of stronger materials.
The white, concrete Tree of Wisdom sculpture weighed some 20 tons and was torn down due to deterioration that made it more logical to rebuild. A replica, which will be built in spring, will retain the same shape, dimensions and white color of the original but will be built out of stronger materials. Photo: Photo courtesy of Jaren Wilkey, BYU

Dedication of Broadcasting and Information Technology Buildings

President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, dedicated the new Broadcasting Building Aug. 12, 2011. He said the building was designed to "take advantage of the wonderful and miraculous technology that will allow the university and Church to reach the hearts and minds of members and friends across the world."
President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, dedicated the new Broadcasting Building Aug. 12, 2011. He said the building was designed to "take advantage of the wonderful and miraculous technology that will allow the university and Church to reach the hearts and minds of members and friends across the world." Photo: Photo courtesy of Mark Philbrick, BYU

On Aug. 12, 2011, President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency and first vice chairman of the BYU Board of Trustees, dedicated the landmark new Broadcasting Building, constructed just east of the Marriott Center.

During his dedicatory prayer, President Eyring said of the 100,000-square-foot complex: "These buildings have been built to take advantage of the wonderful and miraculous technology that will allow the university and Church to reach the hearts and minds of members and friends across the world. That will be done in a way that just a few years ago would have seemed impossible to many people."

The new BYU Broadcasting Building, constructed just east of the school's Marriott Center, will house all six campus broadcasting entities under one roof: BYU Television, BYU Television International, KBYU-TV Eleven, BYU Radio, KBYU-FM Classical and BYU Broadcasting Digital Media Group.
The new BYU Broadcasting Building, constructed just east of the school's Marriott Center, will house all six campus broadcasting entities under one roof: BYU Television, BYU Television International, KBYU-TV Eleven, BYU Radio, KBYU-FM Classical and BYU Broadcasting Digital Media Group. Photo: Photo by Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

According to a BYU news release, the new building houses all six units under BYU Broadcasting, including BYU Television, BYU Television International, KBYU-TV/Eleven, BYU Radio, KBYU-FM Classical and BYU Broadcasting Digital Media Group.

The new facility contains large TV studios, control booths and high-tech broadcast equipment that will better enable the university and Church to air uplifting content, according to BYU President Cecil O. Samuelson, who spoke at the dedication.

He remarked: "The emergence of BYU Broadcasting has been dramatic and positive not only for the university but also for the Church. In addition, it has become an important blessing for millions throughout the world who yearn and search for media content that is decent, praiseworthy and uplifting."

Simultaneously dedicated at the event was the new Information Technology Building that sits on the western edge of campus on University Avenue. President Samuelson called the three-story structure a "necessary and wise investment in our future."

The new three-story Information Technology Building was dedicated via closed circuit TV at the same time as the Broadcasting Building Aug. 12, 2011.
The new three-story Information Technology Building was dedicated via closed circuit TV at the same time as the Broadcasting Building Aug. 12, 2011. Photo: Photo courtesy of Jaren Wilkey, BYU

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BYU-Idaho and BYU-Hawaii

In addition to the construction on the BYU campus in Provo, Utah, the Church Educational System Board of Trustees approved the following projects to further beautify, expand and update other BYU campuses:

BYU-Idaho in Rexburg, Idaho

Last fall, the university's Central Quad, an area between the David O. McKay Library and Joseph Fielding Smith Building, was renovated with a 300-seat outdoor amphitheater and a trellis built from wood reclaimed from trestles built on the Great Salt Lake.

BYU-Idaho's Central Quad was renovated in 2011 with a 300-seat outdoor amphitheater and a trellis built from wood reclaimed from Great Salt Lake trestles.  BYU-Idaho's Central Quad was renovated in 2011 with a 300-seat outdoor amphitheater and a trellis built from wood reclaimed from Great Salt Lake trestles.
BYU-Idaho's Central Quad was renovated in 2011 with a 300-seat outdoor amphitheater and a trellis built from wood reclaimed from Great Salt Lake trestles. BYU-Idaho's Central Quad was renovated in 2011 with a 300-seat outdoor amphitheater and a trellis built from wood reclaimed from Great Salt Lake trestles. Photo: Photo courtesy of Doug Mckay, BYU-Idaho
An artist's rendering shows the planned renovations of BYU-Idaho's Taylor Quad, located between the Hyrum Manwaring Student Center and the John Taylor Building.
An artist's rendering shows the planned renovations of BYU-Idaho's Taylor Quad, located between the Hyrum Manwaring Student Center and the John Taylor Building. Photo: Image courtesy of BYU-Idaho
Once complete, the renovated Taylor Quad will feature new footpaths, water features and foliage that are designed to make the area more student-friendly.
Once complete, the renovated Taylor Quad will feature new footpaths, water features and foliage that are designed to make the area more student-friendly. Photo: Photo courtesy of Doug Mckay, BYU-Idaho

In summer 2011, construction began on renovations to BYU-Idaho's Taylor Quad to make it more student-friendly. Renovations are nearing completion and include new footpaths and water features.

In 2010, the multi-purpose, 15,000-seat BYU-Idaho Center, where campus devotionals are now held, was dedicated by President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency.

President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, dedicated the BYU-Idaho Center Dec. 17, 2010.
President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, dedicated the BYU-Idaho Center Dec. 17, 2010. Photo: Photo courtesy of Michael Lewis, BYU-Idaho
Dedicated in 2010, the multi-purpose BYU-Idaho Center seats some 15,000 people and is the new location of weekly campus devotionals. Previously, campus devotionals were held in the John W. Hart Building.
Dedicated in 2010, the multi-purpose BYU-Idaho Center seats some 15,000 people and is the new location of weekly campus devotionals. Previously, campus devotionals were held in the John W. Hart Building. Photo: Photo courtesy of Michael Lewis, BYU-Idaho

Also in 2010, the Hyrum Manwaring Student Center was given a 132,800-square-foot expansion in addition the remodeling of the existing structure that included adding the Crossroads dining area. (See Church News, Dec. 25, 2010)

In 2010, the Hyrum Manwaring Student Center was given a 132,800-square-foot expansion in addition to the remodeling of the existing structure.
In 2010, the Hyrum Manwaring Student Center was given a 132,800-square-foot expansion in addition to the remodeling of the existing structure. Photo: Photo courtesy of BYU-Idaho

BYU-Hawaii in Laie, Hawaii

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles presided at a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of a new BYU-Hawaii multi-purpose building that is part of the beginning stages of a long-term campus renovation and expansion project.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles presided at a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of a new BYU-Hawaii multi-purpose building that is part of the beginning stages of a long-term campus renovation and expansion project. Photo: Photo courtesy of Monique Saenz, BYU-Hawaii
An artist's rendering shows BYU-Idaho's renovated Central Quad, an area between the David O. McKay Library and the Joseph Fielding Smith Building.
An artist's rendering shows BYU-Idaho's renovated Central Quad, an area between the David O. McKay Library and the Joseph Fielding Smith Building. Photo: Image courtesy of FFKR Architects
Artist rendering, multi-use building view.
Artist rendering, multi-use building view. Photo: Intellectual Reserve Inc.

In December, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve presided at a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of a new multi-purpose building that is part of the beginning stages of a long-term renovation and expansion project for the campus. The new 41,000-square-foot building is expected to be completed in mid-2013 and will house the College of Business, Computing and Government as well as faculty and ecclesiastical offices, technology-enhanced classrooms and two chapels. (See Church News, Dec. 24, 2011, p. 14)

An artist's rendering shows 24 new apartments that are being added to the existing 281 units at the Temple View Apartments, which accommodate married student couples at BYU-Hawaii.
An artist's rendering shows 24 new apartments that are being added to the existing 281 units at the Temple View Apartments, which accommodate married student couples at BYU-Hawaii. Photo: Image courtesy of BYU-Hawaii

Twenty-four new apartments are being added to the existing 281 units at the Temple View Apartments, which accommodate married student couples. The project is expected to be completed within 18 months.

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