An Uncommon Space
January 25, 2019
…Construction of Gardner Commons began two years ago; it opened for fall semester. The building replaces Orson Spencer Hall, which for 60-plus years served as the main classroom building for the University of Utah.
The new building is the home of the College of Social and Behavioral Science—the largest college at the U—and many other entities, including the Hinckley Institute of Politics, the School for Cultural and Social Transformation, the Office for Global Engagement and the Welcome and Student Success centers.
The building features hundreds of study spaces, 37 classrooms, 13 conference rooms, two auditoriums, science labs and its own food court—Carolyn’s Kitchen.
It also houses the new Wasatch Front Secure Data Center, one of only 31 sites in the nation providing researchers and state leaders access to data on housing, health and economics. A new center also located here—the Interdisciplinary Exchange for Utah Science, or NEXUS—is designed to facilitate collaborative work on grand societal challenges.
Gardner Commons incorporates numerous sustainability features. It is completely electric-based, uses renewable energy and is heated and cooled by the first and only geothermal ground-source heat pump on campus, which is expected to save more than $70,000 annually in energy costs.
“On behalf of the students of the University of Utah, I would like to thank Carolyn and Kem Gardner and our other donors for their incredibly generous donations to make our campus an even better place,” said Connor Morgan, ASUU student body president and a political science major. “Thank you for helping to give us a space where current and future students will be able to discover their passions, gain opportunities and make an impact on the world.”