Economic Analysis of WSU Hillside Complete

OGDEN, Utah – An economic analysis study conducted by the University of Utah’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research has found the cost to replace Weber State University property east of Skyline Drive would, “at a minimum be $40 million and could be as high as $47.7 million.”

Commissioner for the Utah System of Higher Education Richard E. Kendell, an Ogden native and Weber State alumnus, presented the results of the recently completed study at WSU’s monthly Board of Trustees meeting held Tuesday.

“This study is part of an ongoing planning process to prepare Weber State University for future growth and for an expanding role in the economic development of Northern Utah,” said Kendell. “The report needs to be seen in the context of other studies and the master planning effort for WSU.”

Last fall, the commissioner’s office, at the request of WSU, asked the bureau to conduct an economic analysis of the 120 acres located east of Skyline Drive.

The study concluded that “The Mountainside Parcel is considerably more valuable to Weber State University as expansion land than the alternative use of residential land.”

The report’s conclusions are based on a previous geologic study of the property that found 57.5 acres east of Skyline Drive could be developed for academic and research purposes. Based on 2006 market value for undeveloped residential property, the report estimates the land’s value at $10.1 million. 

The report estimates the replacement cost of the land between $37.7 million and $45.2 million. This range is based on the difference between assessed residential property values versus the median sales price of nearby homes. Taking in to consideration that acquiring comparable land contiguous to the Ogden campus would require the purchase of individual residential parcels with existing structures, the replacement price climbs to $39.7 to $47.7 million. The increase factors in the additional cost of demolition and removal of existing houses.

“We’ve learned a great deal about this hillside property over the last few months,” said WSU President Ann Millner. “This has been quite an eye-opening process.”

Kendell and the trustees characterized the analysis as a complex task and commended the bureau for its efforts in compiling the report.

“I’m struck by what an incredibly valuable resource this land is for Weber State University and its future expansion,” said Tom Davidson, chair of the WSU Board of Trustees.

Earlier this year, a geologic study of the hillside property, commissioned by Utah’s Division of Facilities Construction and Management (DFCM), found that approximately 57.5 acres could be developed for university purposes. In the opinion of DFCM, that acreage could support a million square feet of academic space.

The economic analysis study cost $12,500 to complete.

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Richard E. Kendell, commissioner, Utah System of Higher Education

(801) 321-7110
John Kowalewski, director of Media Relations
(801) 626-7212 •