University Affairs

Navajo Nation Donates $500K to USU Monument Valley Center Construction

By Marcus Jensen |

Students and administrators from USU Blanding pose for a photo with Buu Nygren, president of the Navajo Nation. President Nygren signed legislation in February for a large donation toward a USU educational and community building in Monument Valley. (Credit: Kristian Olsen/USU)

MONUMENT VALLEY, Utah — Thanks to a generous donation from the Navajo Nation, Utah State University is one step closer to realizing its vision of an education and community center in the Monument Valley region of San Juan County. On January 23, the Navajo Nation Council unanimously approved a $500,000 donation to the project.

"We express our profound gratitude to the Navajo Nation for their invaluable contribution to the Monument Valley academic building," stated Kristian Olsen, senior associate vice president for USU Blanding. “Council Delegate Herman Daniels has emerged as a champion for this project, and his unwavering support has been instrumental in garnering the assistance we have received.

“The forthcoming building is poised to be a wonderful benefit to the community, symbolizing the Navajo Nation's enduring commitment to education and fostering the growth and development of residents in the Four Corners area. We appreciate our relationship with the Navajo Nation and anticipate a long and fruitful collaboration in the future. We look forward to furthering our positive impact together."

The bill was sponsored by Council Delegate Herman Daniels, Jr., who says the facility will benefit residents in the communities of Monument Valley, Oljato, and Kayenta. The overall cost for the building is estimated to be $14 million.

“I thank my colleagues of the 25th Navajo Nation Council for supporting this initiative that will benefit many Navajo people who want to pursue higher education and build their technical skills,” said Delegate Daniels in a statement released by the Navajo Nation.

The education and community center plan calls for an approximately 13,000-square-foot building that will include modern classrooms, computer labs, a nursing and CNA lab, Career & Technical Education lab, small business development space, a welding lab, space for adult education and USU Extension, administrative and faculty offices, and space for community gatherings and public events. The building will also be equipped for distance learning and will offer an array of certificates and degrees, ranging from technical certificates to doctorate degrees, as well as academic guidance and support, counseling services, and career mentoring.

The building will also offer opportunities for concurrent enrollment collaboration with the high school. The proposed site for the building is located just northwest of Monument Valley High School. The San Juan School Board approved the site for the facility in October 2021.

In addition to the funds provided from the Navajo Nation, the building also has received a $5 million commitment from the Utah Legislature in the 2022 Legislative Session, as well as a commitment of $5 million in funds from USU. The rest of the funding will come via philanthropic donations.

The date for groundbreaking has not been set, but further information will be provided once a firm date is set. It is anticipated the building will open for classes beginning in the spring 2026 semester.

Utah State University’s Statewide Campuses create impact by bettering the lives of the people and places they serve. From career and technical certificates to doctorate degrees, USU offers programs that help fuel local economies and empower individuals and their communities. With multiple locations across 85,000 square miles, USU can be the hometown university to anyone, no matter where they live. Learn more at statewide.usu.edu.

WRITER

Marcus Jensen
News Coordinator
University Marketing and Communications
marcus.jensen@usu.edu

CONTACT

Kristian Olsen
Senior Associate Vice President
Utah State University Blanding & Moab
435-678-8184
kristian.olsen@usu.edu

Amanda DeRito
Associate VP of Strategic Communications
University Marketing and Communications
435-797-2759
Amanda.derito@usu.edu


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