The Idaho Board of Education and the University of Idaho are presenting College of Education alumni and friends with an incredible and once in a lifetime opportunity: to reconstruct a building that future educators deserve rather than one they, having spent years in Idaho schools, may come to expect.
Most of us have seen public schools in disrepair. The Idaho school in which I first taught had been “uncondemned” and opened for business by merely taking the boards off of the windows and making sure the plumbing worked. No functioning lunch room, walls separating from floors, an occasionally reliable heat system. I didn’t think much about it. I knew times were tough and bonds weren’t passing. And schools in Idaho rarely have the kind of funding that would provide for cutting edge facilities.
Sadly, the Education Building at the University of Idaho has been in a similar state of disrepair for years. Because the building was constructed during the height of asbestos use in the 1960s, the building quickly became a pariah — untouchable without serious and very expensive asbestos abatement. Securing a projector to the ceiling was cost prohibitive. New roof? Sorry. Ceiling tiles stained from resulting water leakage? Too expensive to replace.
The state and the University agree that it is time to take care of the building. The state has provided nearly $5 million to abate the asbestos and replace the exterior panels water damage on every floor. This will leave standing a shell of brick, cement and steel. The University will bond $9.5 million to get the
5-story building back to a functional level.
And herein lies the opportunity.
Learn more about the College of Education Renovation Building Project
I truly believe that we can make up the difference between “good enough” and excellent. Every dollar we raise for the building will go to key features, upgraded finishes, and furnishings that will turn the building into a source of pride for the University and more importantly from my perspective, a source of pride for students in the College of Education. Our future educators deserve to know that we believe in them so much that we — the College’s alumni and friends — will contribute to a state-of-the-art facility for their training: the latest technology, student collaboration spaces, and furnishings that facilitate collaboration.
We can do this, but only if every one of us gives what we can toward this effort. Our goal is to raise $7 million from our alumni and friends, including one very substantial naming gift. Every gift, whether it is $50 or $50,000, will make a difference in what we can build. And to add urgency to this request, we must have all funds either received or pledged by fall 2015. A daunting but I believe doable task.
Please consider a gift on behalf of Idaho teachers. Every University of Idaho education graduate will touch hundreds if not thousands of lives over the course of a teaching or movement science career. Our belief in and support of future educators matters. We want to add your name to those who so believe in teachers that you help to surround them with functional and inspirational spaces in which to learn. Please give what you can. Every dollar matters.
Corinne Mantle-Bromley, Dean