“I think we’ve gotten to this point because of partnerships, and the understanding that the stage we’re setting for the future is important,"
-Jonathan Mueller, Education Corridor Landscape Architect

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Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814

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Education Corridor Takes Shape in Coeur d'Alene

Collaboration and Leadership: Alumni Engineer and Landscape Architect Design a Cross-Institutional Education Corridor in North Idaho

By Donna Emert

A good idea can seem like the most cumbersome substance on earth: It often takes a whole village, or at least, many visionaries working together, to move one forward.

The Education Corridor, now being built in Coeur d’Alene with the aim of bringing together five of Idaho’s institutions of higher education, is just such an idea.

Among those moving the corridor from concept to reality are two University of Idaho alumni: Jonathan Mueller ’78 and Dale Baune’72 and ‘76.

Mueller, out of U-Idaho’s landscape architecture program, is now senior landscape architect with Landmark, a landscape architectural studio of Architects West in Coeur d’Alene. He also is the current president of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). In addition to his national leadership, he served two terms on the Idaho State Board of Landscape Architects.

He cites collaboration and vision as the forces that move a good idea forward.

“I think we’ve gotten to this point because of partnerships, and the understanding that the stage we’re setting for the future is important,” Mueller says. “There are so many aspects of this project that are important to higher education in Idaho.”

Mueller’s tasks included defining how access to the North Idaho College campus would work, and to identify how many building sites there might be along the corridor.

North Idaho College is adjacent to the University of Idaho Coeur d’Alene Harbor Center. U-Idaho already has established classroom and office space on the NIC campus; the corridor reflects even greater collaboration.

Many citizens and leaders have come together to make the project happen, each with a different tasks and focus, unified by one vision.

“Our team was selected to take all the planning to date through a formal planning process --with a healthy public involvement component-- to produce a final design document, including costs,” Mueller explains.

As the corridor project’s landscape architect, Mueller worked closely with JUB Engineers, Inc., and the company’s vice president, Dale Baune, civil engineer and principal manager of the Education Corridor project.

Baune earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and master’s degree in traffic engineering, both from the University of Idaho. He is a licensed professional engineer in Idaho and Washington, and area manager, vice president and member of the board of J.U.B. Engineers, Inc., in Coeur d’Alene.

Baune has 39 years of design and project management experience touching on all facets of rural and urban roads. That experience includes engineering 10 downtown Coeur d’Alene street revitalization projects.

“I believe this corridor project succeeded because the education community, the City of Coeur d’Alene, and the local residents all shared in the vision and saw the need to step up and complete it for the future students and citizens of Coeur d’Alene,” Baune says.

The collaborative Education Corridor was initiated and is supported by the North Idaho College Foundation. Coeur d’Alene’s Lake City Development Corp. provided funding for the construction of roadways, public infrastructure and landscape treatment that include roundabouts, sidewalks, curbs, trees, pedestrian lights, landscape treatment and a signal at Hubbard and Northwest Boulevard, contracted for just under $3.7 million.

The University of Idaho is invested in the success of Corridor partner institutions and their students: Currently, about 80 percent of University of Idaho Coeur d’Alene Center students come from NIC.

“The Ed Corridor provides a physical representation of the unique partnership between the UICDA, NIC, and our other education partners,” said Charles Buck, University of Idaho associate vice president and center executive officer for northern Idaho. “This is an important next step in providing diverse higher education opportunities for all of northern Idaho, and demonstrates a community commitment to higher education. Bureau of Labor statistics consistently show that unemployment rates fall with increasing educational achievement, so this commitment pays off for our students and for our economy. We’re proud of the involvement of our alums and our University in this project.”

The transformation of the former lumber mill site represents much more than cosmetic change: According to analysis performed by independent analysts, Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc. (EMSI), the Corridor is projected to add $38 million to regional earnings over 20 years, and will generate a total of $17.8 million more in regional fiscal impacts over 20 years than would be raised by property tax alone if the mill site had been developed commercially.

Education Corridor plans and construction updates are available at www.edcorridor.com.