A TRIBUTE TAKES SHAPE
By Charlene Renberg Winters (BA ’73)
THE steel frame rising three stories above the crest of the hill along the west side of campus has already changed the landscape of BYU, and the outline of the future Gordon B. Hinckley Alumni and Visitors Center suggests the slopes and angles that will create a new campus landmark in 2007.
The progress of the building is of particular interest to King Husein (ME ’71), the owner of Span Construction & Engineering, which, in conjunction with Okland Construction, has the responsibility of erecting the new structure.
The BYU graduate and member of the BYU President’s Leadership Council flies from his home in California once a week to visit the Provo campus and consult with his subcontractors. This hands-on approach reflects Husein’s desire to ensure that this building will get the attention it needs.
“I feel a great accountability toward this building,” he says. “And so do the people I work with. We all are aware of a responsibility to ensure that this building properly highlights the life and accomplishments of a great prophet, tells the story of the Church and its relationship to BYU, and makes visitors, alumni, and students feel at home.”
When members of the BYU Alumni Board visited BYU in the fall, for example, Husein told them that many of the subcontractors who got the bid to work on the building have become so interested in its progress that they have also made contributions to the building.
All buildings have their particular challenges, and with this building, the issue is space. While the location is ideal as an entry site to campus, the land is at a premium.
“We are using every inch wisely,” Husein says, “and we don’t have much space for our equipment and materials.” The construction trailer is across the street, and it has become common for motorists taking the campus road directly east of the building to wait for trucks and other construction vehicles.
The building is on schedule and will continue to be as long as Utah Valley has a mild winter, says Husein. “The weather is President Samuelson’s responsibility,” he jokes. The goal is to enclose the building enough to make it weather tight so interior work can continue.
“Then we will focus on the finish work,” Husein says. This phase will take the longest because the main floor is all public space and devoted to welcoming BYU’s guests in fitting fashion.