Talkington area for selected for site of new building
Lewis-Clark State College officials have selected the area north of Talkington Hall as the location for the new Nursing/Health Sciences Building, college administrators announced on Monday.
Construction on the building is expected to begin in March and the $16 million project is expected to be completed prior to the 2009 Fall semester.
The chosen location is at the intersection of 4th Street and 7th Avenue in the northwest corner area of the campus.
“This building illustrates LCSC’s forward movement, its growth, and its strength,” LCSC President Dene K. Thomas said. “The lawn area north of Talkington Hall was the clear choice for the building from all of the feedback the college received.”
College administrators made the decision after receiving opinions on possible building locations from both campus and community members. College administrators also have had regular meetings with officials from the Boise contracting firm of McAlvain, which won the construction bid for the building, and officials from the Boise architect firm of ZGA, which is designing the building.
A campus steering committee, a public advisory committee, Faculty Senate, and LCSC student government also provided input.
Thomas says the selected area is large enough that there will still be enough room for volleyball courts and lawn areas.
“Selection of this site also will result in the removal of the fewest trees on campus,” Thomas said. “The location also allows for a major entrance to campus coming from the north.”
During the 2007 Legislative session, the Idaho Legislature approved $16 million to fund the new building on the LCSC campus, and wanted the building to be functioning by the 2009 Fall semester, giving LCSC officials a timeline to follow.
Originally, 11 sites received consideration; these were narrowed to six sites after initial review, and four sites were eventually eliminated, leaving the chosen site and the area on the northeast corner of campus near the LCSC Library and Administration Building.
Officials from McAlvain and ZGA used scoring criteria to evaluate the six sites. The criteria included three categories: availability, location and campus impacts; development costs; and operational considerations.
Two of the six sites were on property that included real estate not owned by the college. One site involved multiple owners and costs that the college simply could not afford, Thomas said. She added college officials have made several attempts to purchase the other site, but they have been turned down each time. This made both sites unobtainable and therefore eliminated from consideration.
A third site, located near the center of campus between Talkington Hall and the Student Union Building, was found to be too small. A fourth site, on the west side of the library where the library parking lot currently exists, also was found to be too small and would have required the destruction of the trees lining the fire lane, relocating the fire lane, and replacing those parking spots.
Additional locations ruled out early included the parking lot located near the intersection of 11th Avenue and 4th Street, next to the Whitman Complex, and Harris Field, the home of the LCSC baseball team. Building on the parking lot meant LCSC officials would have to purchase property and build another parking lot. To purchase more property and build a parking lot would add more than a million dollars to the project and that money would have to come out of LCSC’s budget, not out of the $16 million.
Harris Field was eliminated because LCSC cannot afford to build a new baseball stadium and would have lost the current contract with the Avista NAIA World Series, with the likelihood that it would never return. Even if funds were available, a new baseball field could not be finished by the spring to hold the tournament, which has an economic impact in the area, and brings in tourism dollars and exposure to the community. It’s also an event that can draw 5,000 people in one night, something that rarely happens in this area, which shows the Series’ value to the community.
Adding to the selection of the Talkington Hall area are the plans for future parking and the current use of the lawn east of the library. City of Lewiston officials already have agreed to vacant 4th Street between 8th and 10th Avenues, and the college will use this area to add an additional 80 parking spaces. Construction on this parking area will begin in late May after school is out.
Thomas said faculty, staff, students, and the community want to keep the lawn east of the library. The LCSC intramural program regularly uses the area, and students like to use the area for pick-up soccer matches. The area is also used by the community and children in the area.
Thomas thanked Gov. Butch Otter, former Gov. Jim Risch, and the Legislature for helping LCSC respond to the region’s needs with the funding for the new building. She also expressed her gratitude for faculty, staff, students and community members who worked with LCSC officials and provided input on the building and its site.
LCSC officials expect the building will allow the college to double its number of nursing and radiography students to help meet the shortage of nursing professionals.
“This new Nursing/Health Sciences Building will allow LCSC to provide nursing and health care professionals to the region and the state of Idaho,” Thomas says. “We’re pleased to provide programs that meet the needs of our region.”
The location announcement will allow architects to finish work on design plans. The building will contain classrooms, laboratories, offices, and it will be the new home of the Nursing/Health Sciences Division. The Natural Sciences Division will use the laboratories and classrooms, but will keep their faculty offices in Meriwether-Lewis Hall.