MIDVALE — The Wasatch Front’s renowned tech corridor will be expanding into Salt Lake County with the addition of a new state-of-the-art facility aimed at bolstering the state’s technology profile.
Zions Bancorp. Wednesday broke ground on its new 400,000-square-foot technology campus in Midvale that will feature the company’s primary tech and operations center. Scheduled for completion in mid-2022, the sustainably built campus will serve Zions’ seven affiliate brands in 11 Western states and will accommodate more than 2,000 employees.
“We hope this new campus will spur even greater innovation and discovery while also contributing to Utah’s economic growth,” said Zions Bancorp. Chairman and CEO Harris Simmons. “We also hope this campus will provide fulfilling career opportunities for a diverse workforce.”
Situated on a former Superfund area overlooking the Jordan River Parkway, the property will reclaim a previously contaminated former steel mill site and support a regional habitat system through ecologically focused design and landscaping, a news release stated.
“Zions Bancorporation’s new campus will have a significant economic impact on the city of Midvale, as well as the surrounding cities, the state, and indeed the entire Intermountain West,” said Gov. Gary Herbert. “Investments of this nature are critical to the ongoing growth, innovation and success of our state’s economy and our financial services and technology sectors.”
During the event, Zions Bancorp. announced a $100,000 donation to the Pastor France A. Davis Scholarship Foundation, earmarked to support students of color pursuing science, technology, engineering and mathematics — STEM — degrees. The contribution was part of the company’s effort to support educational achievement for Utah students and to attract diverse tech talent from the local minority community.
“Our contribution today to the Pastor France A. Davis Scholarship Foundation is symbolic of our desire to ensure that economic opportunity is broadly available to capable employees with a variety of backgrounds and experiences,” Simmons said.
“We’re really determined this is going to be a technology workforce that reflects people we have in our community. Today we have a lot of women in leadership roles, we want to see more minorities,” he said. “The contribution we made to the Francis Davis scholarship fund t today was emblematic of what we hope will be a continued effort to get minority students into programs that lead to great careers, that companies like ours and elsewhere.”
Speaking to an audience of 50 masked guests situated six feet apart under a large canopy, the Rev. Davis said the generous gift, along with Zions’ commitment to supporting academics and diversity, will help further STEM education in minority communities.
“We are convinced that education is critical to making any kind of positive change and in these days of two pandemics, one that’s viral and the other that is racial, we believe that education will be the key to bringing about any kind of positive change that we’re going to make,” he said.
Clint Betts, president and CEO of Silicon Slopes, lauded Zions’ pledge to develop more diversity in its workforce and initiative on an issue that has been a longtime challenge within the tech community nationwide.
“To have one of the signature companies, the signature institutions in the entire state of Utah stand here and put a flag in the ground and say, ‘This is important to us. We’re dedicated to it. We’re going to make this happen,’ the leadership that shows not just for Utah but to the country, that one of the main institutions in the state is committed to (diversity and inclusion) is a huge, huge, huge deal,” he said.
Regarding the development of the new tech center, he added that such projects are a strong indicator to the technology community across the country that Utah is becoming a key player in the U.S. tech ecosystem.
“This will be the hub of Silicon Slopes North, and then you’ll see it expanded even further up in Ogden,” Betts said. “You think about the heart of Silicon Slopes being Lehi and Draper currently. Having it extend up to Midvale now — just growing more and more north and more and more south with St. George booming like crazy. We (have) opened up Silicon Slopes East and Price. To have more connection points, particularly during this day and age where it’s not all bundled together, it’s just fantastic.”