Campus news items: Holt Arena will get a two-year makeover

Idaho State University’s Holt Arena will undergo a two-year, multimillion-dollar facelift.

The makeover, funded fully by Idaho Central Credit Union, will begin with new turf for the football field. From there, the arena will get new seating, hospitality suites and club space, elevators and new entryways.

The work is expected to be completed by August 2023.

“These enhancements will not only dramatically improve the game-day environment, but are paramount to elevating the program and the experience of our student-athletes,” Idaho State Athletic Director Pauline Thiros said.

Idaho State President Kevin Satterlee announced the upgrades Monday during an address to faculty and staff.

Opened on Sept. 26, 1970, at an initial cost of $2.8 million, the 12,000-seat arena houses Idaho State football and basketball, and has hosted events ranging from commencements and concerts to rodeos and high school sports.

The Holt Arena upgrade is just one of several ICCU-bankrolled campus projects.

Idaho State broke ground in July on the $11.5 million ICCU Bengal Alumni Center, just north of Holt Arena.

ICCU paid $10 million for naming rights for the University of Idaho’s Idaho Central Credit Union Arena, slated to open this fall.

Boise State donations increase by $7.6 million

Despite the coronavirus pandemic and economic uncertainty, donors contributed $41.8 million to Boise State University — a $7.6 million increase.

“The success of Boise State’s fundraising efforts during the unprecedented pandemic year is attributed directly to our donors,” Vice President for Advancement Matthew Ewing said this week. “Boise State donors continue to make bold investments in our students, faculty and programs that directly impact lives by creating opportunities for innovation and success across the state and beyond.”

All told, the university received more than 83,000 donations from 24,500 individual, corporate and foundation contributors.

Student aid was a key priority for donors. They contributed $8.6 million for student scholarships, including $2.2 million for student-athletes, Boise State reported.

About 63 percent of Boise State students receive some form of financial aid. For in-state students, this number approaches 75 percent.

Donors also contributed $8.2 million to the Lyle Smith Society campaign to support Boise State student athletes.

In a news release, Boise State also touted several corporate donations — including $500,000 from the Micron Foundation, for an inclusive leadership program that pairs students with university and Micron mentors ”to develop programming designed to build community and support students as inclusive leaders.”

U of I research will focus on effects of wolves and drought

Starting next month, University of Idaho researchers will examine the impacts wolves and drought have had on Idaho and eastern Oregon rangeland.

A federal grant — $1.6 million from the National Science Foundation — will fund the five-year study.

Researchers will monitor six range sites to learn about how drought affects vegetation, and how those changes affect ungulates and livestock, and their relationship with predators.

“Stereotypical stories about the West are told with heroes and villains, where some animals may be considered good or bad, and some may be saviors or foes,” said Sophie Gilbert, a U of I assistant professor of wildlife ecology and management who will be lead investigator on the project. “We want to go beyond that, to learn how interconnected those things are and how all wildlife comes with costs and benefits to humans that share these landscapes.”

Researchers and a film crew will work on a documentary on the study.

Lewis-Clark recruiting program receives five-year extension

Lewis-Clark State College will receive an additional five years of federal funding for a program to recruit potential students.

The Clearwater Valley TRIO Talent Search program serves nearly 600 sixth- through 12th-grade students in Grangeville, Kamiah, Kooskia, Orofino, and Pierce/Weippe. The program is geared toward students from low-income households, and students whose parents did not obtain a four-year degree.

The program provides students with guidance on study habits and time management, applying for college and financial aid and career options.

About 42 percent of the students in the Clearwater Valley program enter college, and 19 percent earn at least a bachelor’s degree, said Traci Birdsell, senior director of Lewis-Clark’s educational grant opportunities programs.

The renewed federal grant comes to about $328,000 a year, a $44,000 increase.

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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