U of I gets a new Boise law school site, after Boise State looked at the same location

The University of Idaho will take over the old Concordia University law school building — but the U of I wasn’t alone in showing interest in the Downtown Boise site.

Boise State University had looked at the Concordia building, submitting a nonbonding letter of interest, Don Day of BoiseDev.com reported.

“The building is turnkey for education and its proximity to industry and the Statehouse made it an appealing opportunity, but not our highest priority,” Boise State spokesman Mike Sharp told Day.

Property owners decided to go in a different direction, Sharp told Day.

The State Board of Education Monday approved the U of I’s plan to assume the Concordia site on Front Street. The U of I will move its Boise law school from the old Ada County Courthouse, across the street from the Statehouse, and set up all law school operations at the Concordia site.

After the $600,000 annual lease and an estimated $300,000 in other expenses, the U of I hopes the new site will prove to be a moneymaker. The U of I hopes to attract 90 students per year to the Boise law school, up from 60 per year, and reap some $1.8 million in annual revenues, President C. Scott Green told the State Board Monday.

The only thing limiting the growth of law programs in the Treasure Valley is supply — not the demand for seats, Green said.

“We’re pretty confident we can hit those (increased enrollment) numbers without a decrease in quality,” Green told the State Board.

The U of I has 251 students enrolled for law school in the fall, including 61 Concordia transfer students who will graduate in 2021, Betsy Russell of the Idaho Press reported. The Portland, Ore.-based Concordia University announced its plans to close its Boise operation a year ago. By August, 110 Concordia students had transferred to the U of I, Russell reported.

While the U of I plans to move its law school into larger quarters, the fate of its current site is unclear. The state owns the old Ada County Courthouse, and had been leasing it to the university.


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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