Your contribution to support the Margaret Ritchie School of Family and Consumer Sciences is a great investment. We have high-achieving students, remarkable faculty, and nationally accredited programs that improve the lives of families and individuals. And we continue to be popular with today’s students as demonstrated by the more than 30 percent increase in enrollment in our degree programs over the past decade.
Since 1953, our central facility has been the Niccolls Building, and many of you remember the countless hours you spent in our classrooms and labs. Now, to better prepare our students for the complexity of work and life today and in the future, portions of the building must be renovated.
Objective: $3.3 million
The Niccolls Building Renovation project will:
- Modernize the Foods Lab to support the Food and Nutrition program;
- Upgrade existing space in the Child Development Lab to provide improved learning and research opportunities for students in our very successful Early Childhood Development and Education degree; and
- Create a multipurpose “smart” classroom with the necessary technology to provide all of our students with rich, interactive learning opportunities.
We need your help in completing this critical renovation project. Your generous investment will allow our students to learn in a real-world setting that will prepare them for real-world experiences.
“Our school’s focus is still on supporting strong families. The focus has expanded
to recognize that times have changed for American society, and we must have the
facilities that can help our students prepare to meet new challenges.”
— Sandra Evenson, Interim Director
School of Family and Consumer Sciences
Foods Lab: $1.3 million
When the Niccolls Building was dedicated in the early 1950s, the Foods Lab offered six home-style kitchen centers that featured the latest models of household appliances. Through timely research, the key elements in nutrition, food preparation, food safety, and nutrition for special needs across the life span have been updated. However, the biggest change comes in the career goals of our students.
Today, many of our graduates are working to produce healthy, nutritious meals in large quantities in settings such as hospitals, schools, and restaurants. Being able to make a great meal for your family is an important skill to have, and making a great meal for a 600-resident nursing facility is an even bigger challenge. Our Foods Lab has a pressing need to provide the food planning, preparation equipment, and facilities used in high-quality, high-quantity industrial settings.
What’s the direct impact on our students?
They’ll be even more prepared with additional real-world skills for their careers.
“Our graduates contribute to leading companies that have an impact across the country and around the world. The new facilities in the Niccolls Building will give them a great head start and prepare them to succeed.”
— Laurel Branen
Professor of Food and Nutrition
Child Development Laboratory: $1.5 million
There is a tremendous need for quality child care providers, not only in Idaho, but throughout the nation, and our new and very successful degree in Early Childhood Development and Education is helping to meet that need, along with meeting a demand for teachers trained in working with children who have special needs and child advocates. The on-campus lab allows students to observe and document children playing and interacting, create stimulating learning environments, and meet with parents to discuss the progress of their children.
“A modern, redesigned Child Development Laboratory would benefit our program immensely and allow the future teachers, children, and families to experience preschool with interactions during snack preparation, better storage solutions, and greater access and functionality of the bathrooms.”
— Allison Smith ’98
and current graduate student
All Early Childhood Development and Education majors complete a semester-long practicum and work directly with 3- and 4-year-olds for a half-day, three times a week.
The lab opened in the mid-1970s and received a modest upgrade in the mid-1990s. Now, the lab needs important upgrades including climate control capabilities and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant bathrooms, along with the addition of technology and a food preparation area to better prepare students in all aspects of early childhood development.
"We are proud to have achieved and maintained accreditation through the National Association for the Education of Young Children for many years. Learning in an accredited program gives students optimal opportunities to learn best practices in working with young children and families. We work hard to maintain our laboratory areas and have succeeded in keeping them aesthetically pleasant and functional. Multitudes of children, families, undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff, and others have learned here. Now, the time has come to invest in improving our facilities for those yet to walk through our doors.”
— Suzanne Planck, Director
Child Development Laboratory
Click here to see artist’s renderings of the proposed new Foods Lab,
Child Development Lab and Smart Classroom
"Smart" Classroom: $500,000
Times change, and so do classrooms. Today, what was a sewing laboratory in the Niccolls Building is now our multipurpose classroom. And, unfortunately, the current technology in the classroom is more geared to powering sewing machines than powering interactive learning. Since our clothing, textiles and design program is now housed in another area of the building, the need for a multipurpose classroom to be accessible by all disciplines is a necessity.
Our students are technology-savvy, and they represent a wide range of learning styles. Our professors are excited about increasing the quality of their presentations through technology. Our wired “smart” classroom will provide learning opportunities with greater student engagement through access to the Internet, the use of CDs and DVDs, PowerPoint, Illuminate and Adobe Connect programs, quality audio and a document camera to capture close-up photos of historic documents and textile structures.
New tables and chairs will allow for full multipurpose use of the classroom, from lectures and small group discussions to student presentations and historic costume analysis projects.
“Today’s FCS professional preparation will be enhanced by the computer-based, interactive environment that the Smart Classroom will provide.”
— Nancy Wanamaker, Former Director
School of Family and Consumer Sciences
Your gift in support of the Niccolls Building renovation will facilitate transformational learning, better prepare students, and leave a lasting expression of your love for the University of Idaho.
Whether you are a friend of the School, an advocate for the life sciences, or an alumnus of Home Economics or Family and Consumer Sciences, you know the value of education. With improved, modern facilities, students will learn principles and immediately apply them to solve practical problems in the classroom. In every day life or in their careers, students will draw on those integrated principles to creatively address any need.
Students have a great fondness for their classrooms and the learning they experience in them. Today, students need facilities that will prepare them to meet national and international standards, and make a positive impact in the world. This is why enrollment in Family and Consumer Sciences grows consistently every year. Students want to make a difference. Our mission is to help them do just that. And you can make a difference with your support.