Dixie Tech celebrates permanent campus with ribbon-cutting

The new campus of Dixie Technical College set atop Tech Ridge. Staff, students, civic leaders and many others celebrated the building’s completion and the school’s getting a permanent campus with a ribbon cutting and tours of the facility, St. George, Utah, March 28, 2018 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – It was a red-letter day for Dixie Technical College as staff, students, civic officials and many others from the community celebrated the trade school’s permanent campus Wednesday.

“This is super exciting,” former state Sen. Steve Urquhart said with a wide smile. “I moved to Salt Lake a while back, so I haven’t seen the progress on the building for several months. So driving up the hill and seeing this, I had a smile that was ear-to-ear.”

Prior to his leaving the Utah Senate, Urquhart was, and still is, a major proponent of technical and higher education.

Derek Hadlock, acting president of Dixie Technical College, spoke prior to the ribbon cutting and referred to the new campus as a “beacon on a hill,” St. George, Utah, March 28, 2018 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

The new campus rests on 30 acres atop Tech Ridge, overlooking the heart of St. George. It consists of two buildings plus the old municipal airport terminal.

The main building, which can be seen from the valley below, stands at three-stories with 160,000 square feet. It houses the school’s culinary, computer and medical training programs. The second building, set behind the first, houses the school’s industrial programs. The old airport terminal has been converted into a training facility for emergency responders.

“Dixie Technical College is such a great opportunity for the future of our citizens, young and all ages to be trained in various technology fields,” St. George Mayor Jon Pike said.

The location in the middle of Tech Ridge is also a great opportunity for St. George, Pike said, in that it is expected to become an anchor of a technology-based business park the city is gradually developing on the site.

Read more: Dixie Applied Technical College set to begin work on new campus

Of the 30 acres that make up the school’s campus, part was donated by the city while the rest was bought by the state.

Derek Hadlock, acting president of Dixie Technical College, cuts the ribbon with giant scissors celebrating the trade school’s new campus. Many others involved in the process of getting the new campus were also able to cut the ribbon with regular scissors, St. George, Utah, March 28, 2018 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Stephen Wade, a St. George businessman and member of the Utah System of Technical Colleges board of trustees, called Wednesday, when the ribbon-cutting was held at the school, a red-letter day.

Wade, who owns the Stephen Wade Auto Center and dealerships in St. George, said the training Dixie Technical College provides is in high demand, particularly in a city that was recently listed as the fastest-growing metro area in the United States.

“This is just what this community needs,” Wade said. “Our infrastructure is challenged and is in need of trained welders, auto mechanics, (auto) body repairers, IT experts, doctors, nurses, pharmacy techs – the list goes on. These folks are the backbone and the bedrock of this community. As we say in my business: this is where the rubber meets the road.”

Read more: Dixie Applied Technology College breaks ground on new campus

Among Dixie Tech’s computer-based programs are digital media design, information technology and drafting and design. The public was shown where these rooms are taught at the trade school during tours of the facility following a ribbon cutting for the school’s new campus, St. George, Utah, March 28, 2018 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Dixie Technical College started in September 2001 under the name Dixie Applied Technology College with 26 adult students in three programs that covered diesel technology, office management and construction. Two other programs in welding and woodworking were also offered and taken by 200 high school students.

Today the trade school sports over 20 programs, with culinary arts and digital media design being among the newer ones offered.

Read more: Speaker tells Dixie Applied Tech graduates to remember the little guy

The trade school was originally housed in what had been home to Harmons Grocery on 100 South, which is now home to the Dixie State University Testing Center. Prior to moving into permanent campus on Tech Ridge last fall, the school’s most recent location was at the corner of Dixie Drive and Silicon Way.

“It all started with an idea, an idea that technical education is the backbone of our economy,” acting Dixie Tech president Derek Hadlock said, “an idea that the doers and makers in our community need to be trained in the best facilities possible.”

“We see this building as a beacon on the hill,” Hadlock said, “a physical embodiment of the import and esteem in which education has been held in St. George since the first pioneers entered the valley.”

Both Wade and Hadlock, along with several others present, gave a a hefty amount of credit to former Dixie Tech president Kelle Stephens for being a major force in getting the trade school to the campus it is today.

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Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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