Living quarters need improvements for future U of I president

MOSCOW, ID - The University of Idaho hopes to spend about $2 million on a new on-campus residence for their next president.

Palouse Reporter Rachel Dubrovin tells us why the university said now is an opportune time make the investment.

Like many land grant universities, the University of Idaho has an on-campus residence for their president.

"It's very important to have that special place where the president can bring dignitaries and donors," said University of Idaho Vice President of Finance and Administration Ron Smith.

As you can see, the president's residence has a beautiful view of the Palouse. But the house itself was built in 1966, and these days, it's become a little outdated.

"The house right now, as it stands, is awkward to say the least," said Smith. "The hallways are very narrow, the master suite is non-existent, and so it's really not a very nice place to live."

According to university officials, the house also needs a boiler, new windows, and a better ventilation system. And since the interim president doesn't live in the house, now is an ideal time to address those issues. But, the renovation estimates came in at more than $800,000.

"At that time we looked at it and said, 'Well, maybe it makes more sense just to knock it down and build a new one," said Smith.

A brand new house would cost, at most, $2 million. It would be paid for by the university, and by donations to the U of I Foundation. University officials hope to gain approval from the State Board of Education in August, which is about the time they'll start narrowing down presidential candidates.

"We're hoping that this will help attract some really good candidates to campus," said Smith.

KLEW News requested a tour of the house to see the facilities that are said to need work, but university officials denied our request at this time.

In the August State Board of Education meeting, the U of I will be asking for permission to spend $75,000 on the planning stage of the project.