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Boise State Opens New Environmental Research Building To Address Issues Relevant To The West

Students returning to classes on the Boise State campus today once again will be met with a changing landscape. The university has opened the five story, 97,000-square-foot Environmental Research Building across from Bronco Stadium along University Drive.

With modern laboratories and study space, it will enhance research aimed at the pressing issues of the West, including the environment, energy, transportation, water, land use and community planning.

Boise State’s first building dedicated solely to research, the ERB is designed to encourage and support interdisciplinary collaboration — it is the new home for Geosciences, Civil Engineering, Public Policy and Administration and Political Science, as well as a community and regional planning program, the environmental finance office, the Public Policy Center and the Frank Church Institute.

“The building really will be a nexus of research and policy,” said David Wilkins, chair for the Department of Geosciences. “The intent is to answer questions about issues that impact our community, state and region and get that information in the hands of policymakers.”

The state-of-the-art research facility features 43 labs, clean rooms, freezer rooms, a 140-foot ground water testing well and a connection to the city’s geothermal heating system.

In keeping with Boise State’s commitment to construct buildings that will be sustainable for decades to come, the building is efficient, durable and adaptable to a variety of research needs. Numerous energy saving strategies have been incorporated, including a variable-air volume HVAC system with high efficiency condensing hot-water boilers, increased wall and roof insulation, high-efficiency windows, and a low window-wall ratio.

“Due to careful energy modeling, it is one of the most energy efficient lab buildings in the West,” said James Maguire, associate vice president for campus planning and facilities. “Lab buildings typically use twice as much energy as this one is expected to use.”

The $22 million building was finished on time and significantly under budget. That is due to lower construction costs, according to Maguire. The savings allowed other construction to take place, mainly the new Lincoln Avenue parking garage expansion that adds 700 new parking spaces, as well as 7,292 square feet of office space.

Students also will notice rapid progress on two other major construction sites on campus — the 118,890-square-foot Micron Business and Economics Building on the west end of campus is slated to open within a year, and new student housing along Lincoln Avenue that will open next semester.

Other noteworthy campus additions include a new Transit Center added to the Student Union that facilitates sustainable modes of transportation and the newly completed Arguinchona Basketball Complex on the southwest corner of Taco Bell Arena.

Just two years ago, Boise State celebrated the completion of the Norco Building, a new 81,290-square-foot home for the university’s School of Nursing and University Health Services, the renovation and expansion to 252,000 square feet within Student Union, and the addition of a 17,000-square-foot aquatics complex on the south side of the Student Recreation Center.

The ERB is one of 11 new major building projects on campus in the past four years. The projects encompass more than 600,000 square feet of classroom, laboratory, office, event and common area space and represent an overall 25 percent increase in campus building space. Each project addresses very specific needs of the campus community and is designed, built and used in ways that set the foundation for the university’s future success.


Media contact: Sherry Squires, University Communications, (208) 426-1563,

About Boise State University
As an emerging metropolitan research university of distinction, Boise State University plays a crucial role in the region’s economic development and famed quality of life. Idaho’s largest institution of higher education offers nearly 200 degrees and certificates in seven colleges. While remaining committed to the strong teaching legacy that has resulted in 11 Idaho Professor of the Year awards since 1990, Boise State’s added emphasis on innovation and creativity is fueling the fastest growing research program in Idaho.

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