by Andrew Crisp
Officials from Boise State University and Micron Technology upper crust gathered Tuesday to announce a major upgrade to the Boise skyline. At the intersection of Capitol Boulevard and University Drive, the dilapidated University Inn will be torn down to make way for the new Micron Business and Economics Building. The four-story, near-120,0000-square-foot structure will be the largest construction project underway on the Western half of the campus.
In 2007, Micron committed a $12.5 million lead-gift for the project, with $5 million contingent on the school finding matching funds by the end of 2009. And find it they did, in the open wallets of more than 1,000 contributors around the community
“Micron greatly values its strong educational relationship with Boise State University,” said Micron CEO Steve Appleton. He acknowledged the project succeeded “despite Micron’s trails and tribulations and despite some media saying that we wouldn’t be here today.”
The new facility will boast cutting edge, tech-centered classrooms, a 250-seat lecture hall, a tree-lined courtyard area, a student commons area with food service, student work spaces, a financial technology workroom and simulated trading room, as well as an interactive billboard to support collaboration.
His demeanor wasn’t entirely jovial, though. Increasingly outspoken, Kustra reminded everybody about who wasn’t at the ribbon-cutting: a representative from the State of Idaho.
“There’s a new business model for higher education in this country,” said Kustra. “State governments are leaving that charge of higher education. It leaves Boise State to come up with the rest of that money...half of the funding of this building will come from the students.”
“This will be the first [BSU] building that will go up without state appropriation,” Kustra remarked.