In the heart of Murray, Utah, Forge Contractors is nearing completion on a transformative project: the new headquarters for the Utah Education Association (UEA). UEA is a professional organization that represents over 18,000 public school educators in Utah. Their new facility will provide members with a modern, secure, and professional space to work and collaborate, while also fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment for all.
From Old to New: UEA’s Journey Toward Modernization
The original UEA building, dating back to 1965, was showing its age. Despite multiple renovations and extensions over the years, the facility was grappling with issues like ceiling leaks and a lack of modern amenities. When the UEA reviewed the costs of bringing the building up to code, it was clear that a new building was the better investment. “Given UEA’s ownership of the property, the decision was made to erect a new structure in the parking lot,” says Jennifer Boehme, UEA’s Executive Director.
Rising to the Challenge: Navigating the Impact of COVID-19
Initially set to begin in 2020, the project hit a stumbling block due to the COVID-19 pandemic, causing delays and added costs. However, this did not dampen the spirit of collaboration between UEA and Forge Contractors. Our team showed exceptional adaptability and commitment, reshaping the design to fit new constraints while maintaining the project’s core objectives.
Creating a Space for All: Meeting the Needs of UEA Members
Our primary goal is to create a space that serves the UEA membership effectively and efficiently. The UEA headquarters hub for educators will feature a community room with flexible seating for up to 84 people classroom style, multiple conference rooms, and video conferencing technology. This design will not only serve UEA members but also provide a space for education-related organizations to meet and collaborate. “With members spanning the breadth of Utah—from Logan to St. George—the facility will ensure that meetings and events can be accessed by educators from all corners of the state,” emphasizes Boehme.
Embracing the Future: Leveraging Technology for Education
With UEA’s membership scattered across Utah, the new facility is designed to ensure that educators statewide can participate in meetings and events. Through advanced conferencing technology, we aim to provide a seamless hybrid experience that allows remote participation.
Extending Our Reach: Broadening Community Impact
The new UEA headquarters will serve as a hub for various education-focused groups, such as the Utah Public Education Coalition and Utah PTA. This makes it a central point for education advocacy and support, reaffirming UEA’s role as a leader in educational initiatives across Utah.
Building Trust: Our Client-Centric Approach
Forge Contractors has made it a priority to foster a trusting relationship with UEA. From the get-go, we invested time in understanding UEA’s needs and objectives. “We made sure to spend time with the UEA team before breaking ground,” says Mike Buhler, Project Director for Forge Contractors. “Understanding the client’s needs is critical for a successful build,” he continues.
“Forge wanted to acquaint themselves with us before construction commenced,” recounts Boehme. “They delved into understanding how we intended to utilize the spaces, a crucial consideration integral to the design and construction.” This commitment to collaboration has been a constant throughout the project. We’ve made it a point to be transparent in our communications and diligent in our financial stewardship.
Insights for the Future: Lessons Learned from the Project
The UEA project has provided valuable insights for similar educational initiatives. From the inclusion of rooms for nursing mothers to gender-neutral restrooms, the project underscores UEA’s commitment to equity and inclusivity. The project highlights the importance of meticulous planning, especially given the challenges posed by the demolition of the old building. “It encompasses collaborative teamwork, client education, and judicious financial stewardship,” asserts Josh Anderson, Forge Contractors’ Superintendent.
Looking Ahead: Transforming Utah’s Educational Landscape
The new UEA Headquarters stands as a testament to both the organization’s and Forge Contractors’ dedication to enhancing education in Utah. Additionally, it serves as a legacy dedicated to the teachers of the state of Utah. “As the facility prepares to open its doors in May 2024, we look forward to seeing how it transforms the educational landscape of Utah,” says Boehme.
For more information regarding Forge Contractors’ work on the UEA Headquarters project, visit our project spotlight.
Learn about UEA’s Educator Patio brick fundraising campaign at UEA’s brick fundraising website. To learn more about UEA’s latest achievements and initiatives, check out their website and the stories of the latest honorees from the “Superstars in Education Banquet” here.