The Idaho Commons Building is 88,000 gross square feet, consisting of five different levels. Over 200 individuals either work in the Idaho Commons Building or have offices in the building.
At any given time well over 800 students can hang out, study or eat in the Commons, in comparison, the Library "fishbowl" provides room for 40 students and the Student Union Building provides space for 70 students.
The Idaho Commons also incorporates sustainable design features, making it an efficient building. These include day-lighted classrooms with movable walls and clerestories, providing extra light in spaces that are normally walls.
The Idaho Commons at the University of Idaho in Moscow offers a new model for student unions. It was designed by a team of architectural and engineering firms including:
- Yost Grube Hall Architecture of Portland, Oregon
- Design West Architects of Boise, Idaho
- Landscape architects: Walker Macy of Portland, Oregon
- Mechanical Engineers: Glumac of Portland, Oregon
- Structural Engineers: KPFF Engineers of Portland, Oregon
- Civil Engineers: CH2Mhill of Boise, Idaho
The total project costs for the building were $21.6 million, including $16.5 million in construction costs. Sixty percent of the building ($13 million) came from student fee supported bonds, $22 percent ($4.7 million) of the funding came from revenue supported bonds, 3.5 percent ($750,000) of funding came from private donations and 14.5 percent ($3.15 million) came from miscellaneous sources including interest income and reserves.
Areas of Distinction:
Many of the unique and wonderful areas in the Idaho Commons would not exist without thoughtful donations. These gifts improve the daily lives of students and the University of Idaho community.
The Rotunda area, a central gathering point near the main entrance on the east side of the building was donated by J. Richard Rock of San Jose, California, a past ASUI President in 1994. The University of Idaho seal located in the center of the rotunda is cast in bronze. The points radiating out from the seal are evocative of the points of a compass that indicate the University's land grant status and statewide responsibilities.
The grand staircase connects the ground floor to the third floor, with a stop on the second floor. Many of the stairs bear the names of friends and supporters of the University. The Curve the staircase follows reflects the pedestrian path through the site prior to the building being built. Tucked under the grand staircase from the second to the third floor is a coffee shop. This open patio gathering place for students was funded through a gift from Carmelita G. Spencer of Grangeville, Idaho.
Designated as a "quiet lounge" the Cedar Grove Lounge was donated by Malcolm and Carol Renfrew of Moscow, Idaho in honor of their parents Franklin Madison and Alice Stenson Campbell and Earl Edgar and Elsie MacKenzie Renfrew. The lounge has a fireplace and piano, and entrances into the coffee shop and the south terrace overlooking University Avenue.
Department of Student Involvement/ASUI (Associated Students University of Idaho)
The Associated Students University of Idaho serves as the governing organization for undergraduate students. Thirteen elected senators are assigned to living groups, including off-campus students and colleges. These students, along with the student body president and vice president, serve as student liaisons to university administration. The ASUI also appoints students to serve on university committees, awards annual scholarships, provides campus programming and maintains resources for students. The ASUI area in the Idaho Commons was made possible by a gift given by Skip and Bee Pierce of Boise, Idaho.
Redfish Lake, Quaking Aspen Aster Room and Bear Lake Rooms
These rooms are used for tutoring and programs that support students. This area was made possible by a gift given by James and Doreen Terrill of Coeur d' Alene, Idaho. The names of the tutoring rooms are all Idaho place names and are arranged alphabetically.
The Alice Kelly Munson Room is a room for meditation and reflection, made possible by a gift given by Ward Munson in memory of his late wife Alice Kelly Munson. It provides a quiet space to sit alone or be with others overlooking the Palouse hills.
This cozy meeting room is often used for small group meetings and studying. It was made possible by a gift from Robert and Janice Cowan of Richland, Washington in honor of her parents W.D. and Romania Hale.