State Board gives U of I go-ahead to begin housing expansion

The University of Idaho has the initial go-ahead to expand and refurbish on-campus housing.

The long-term goal is to add 150 beds at the U of I, which requires its first-year students to live on campus. Currently, the U of I has 2,275 beds — including 200 beds at a leased motel off campus.

The State Board of Education last week approved spending $12 million on a planning and design phase for several projects:

  • Deferred maintenance and a refresh of existing residence halls.
  • Repurposing the South Hill facility for married students, so it can also accommodate graduate students.
  • New on-campus undergraduate apartments.
  • Expanded dining facilities to serve the additional students living on campus.

All of the work could cost $195 million over three years.

In a presentation last week, the U of I urged the State Board to move quickly on the projects. Any delays could drive up construction costs, and leave the U of I scrambling to secure construction workers, as Micron begins a new chip plant in Boise and Meta begins a data center near Kuna.

The U of I is expected to bring a financing plan to the State Board at its October meeting.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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