MOSCOW, Idaho — Following years of planning and design changes, the University of Idaho has finally completed its new on-campus home for its next president.
Dubbed the "University Home," the presidential home sits off of Nez Perce Drive, beneath the campus' familiar water tower and next to the Shattuck Arboretum atop. The 6,000 square foot building lies atop the same foundation as the old president's house.
The former executive residence was originally built in the 1960s and was badly in need of a remodel, school leaders had said. Proposals to rebuild or remodel the home first started in 2013 but were continually shot down due to cost. In 2016, the building's current design was approved.
The total project cost, which comes in at $1.95 million, is funded partially by both donations and university dollars, said UI spokeswoman Jodi Walker.
"The president's house is the signature home. It's not only a place for the president to live, it's a place for the president to entertain."
In designing the modern-appearing home, UI staff had said that they wanted to be as cost efficient as possible. The home's southern side, which faces Nez Perce Drive, was designed to be modest, said project manager Daryle Faircloth. The home's dark colors are also designed to blend into its surroundings and not stand out, the university said. The building is orientated to the North, facing Shattuck Arboretum.
"It's a very unique project," said Faircloth, noting how many years the home had been in development. "To be at this point is great."
Notably, Faircloth and staff kept the home's original fireplace, basement, and garage in addition to the foundation. Part of the building's hardwood floors come from larch trees grown at UI's experimental forest near Troy. The wood was harvested by a student logging crew.
Walker said that UI art and architecture students also aided in the building's design and used the project as a case study.
"This is an amazing, amazing house," Walker said.
While half of the home is designed as a private residence, the home's main common area is designed to host members of the public for presidential events.
The home's completion comes amidst UI's search for a new president. Walker and other UI staff had noted that the home's rebuild would hopefully serve as another appealing element to the Moscow campus. "Of course, we want to attract a great president. But also to have that space where the community and the university can come together," she said.