With its student body size more than doubling since fall 2007, Brigham Young University – Idaho, in Rexburg, has been working to expand its campus footprint to match, with a series of six major projects constructed since 2010.
Student enrollment was 13,155 in Fall 2007, and starting in fall 2011 it began jumping by around 3,000 students a year, according to figures provided by media relations manager Brett Crandall. The latest projection for this fall is 35,000.
Here are the buildings that BYU-Idaho has built. New buildings on campus are typically dedicated by a general authority of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and are considered complete after that dedication.
The BYU-Idaho Center was dedicated in December 2010 after approximately three years of construction. It is a multipurpose building that consists of nearly 435,000 sq. ft. of space, housing two separate facilities connected by a foyer: a 15,000-seat auditorium and a multi-use activities center. “The indoor gym has 10 full-size basketball courts,” Crandall said. “Around it is the track. If you run around the track five times, it’s a mile.” It also has four acres of roof, 17,000 yards of carpet in the auditorium where weekly devotionals are held – and 212 toilets.
Hyrum Manwaring Student Center
Also in 2010, BYU-Idaho renovated its student center to include a university store, a renovated and expanded food court, a convenience store, dance studio suite, and space for the activities program, as well as a skybridge that connects it to the library.
The building was once used to provide meals and serve as a first aid station after the failure of the Teton Dam in 1976, a disaster that killed 11 people and thousands of cattle. The building originally included a post office and barber shop.
Centre Square Apartments
Begun in October 2013, and dedicated in September 2015, the Centre Square Apartments are a housing complex with two buildings for female students and one building for male students. The complex includes 850 beds in two-, three-, and four-bedroom floor plans. The complex also includes 24 common areas, including lounges, lobbies, study rooms, music rooms, and two gathering rooms. Between the buildings is green space.
Science and Technology Center. The Science and Technology Center, completed in 2017, provides multifunctional labs, classrooms, open study areas, and faculty office space for the Departments of Animal and Food Science, Applied Plant Science, Computer Information Technology, and Computer Science and Electrical Engineering.
Central Energy Facility
Until this natural gas-powered facility was completed, BYU-Idaho was heated by coal. Coal? “It was pretty typical back in the day,” Crandall said. “A lot of universities had coal-fired power plants.” The previous plant used 50,000 pounds of steam to heat campus on its coldest nights; the new plant uses just 60,000 pounds of steam to heat that plus an additional million square feet of campus. The plant also produces a large proportion of the campus’ electricity. The school expects to save millions of dollars on energy costs, as well as being a
better environmental steward. “It’s better for our air quality, since it’s literally right next to all our buildings,” he said. “I can look out my window and look at it.” Construction began in December, 2013. Technically the facility was completed in summer 2016, and was actually producing steam since November, 2014, and electricity since August, 2015, but it wasn’t dedicated until 2017. It was recognized by Rocky Mountain Power Company in August, 2016, for taking steps to increase energy efficiency across campus.
Agriculture Science Center
Under construction from 2015 to 2017, the agriculture science center opened in February and consists of 13 new structures, as well as reconstruction of several other buildings from the
Livestock Center that BYU-Idaho acquired in 1978. It gives students hands-on experience with goats, chickens, and other animals raised for food. “It’s like a little farm out there,” Crandall said, with 140 acres, an indoor arena, and classrooms. Thankfully for the rest of the students, it’s located about five miles from the rest of the campus.
At this point, BYU-Idaho doesn’t have any plans for any new buildings, but there’s a whole laundry list of construction projects continuing on campus as the school repurposes the space that has been left vacant by the departure of programs for the new buildings, Crandall said. “We’re trying to make the space that we have more efficient to accommodate the most students it can,” he said. “Buildings are expensive and we want to offer our students a high-value education and want to utilize our resources.”
For example, one renovation is dividing an auditorium into four smaller rooms to accommodate the school’s small classes, Crandall said. Another is repurposing the space formerly used by the Emergency Medical Service and Culinary Arts programs. Other projects are primarily maintenance, such as replacing roofs, concrete, asphalt, and other infrastructure.
Most of the projects were scheduled to complete in September. “A lot of those projects started this summer,” Crandall said. “We try to get a lot of things done when students aren’t here.”