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Writer: Marc Stevens
Brigham Young University-Idaho has received approval from its Board of Trustees to begin work on two new building projects on campus. Construction will start October 1 on a new Central Energy Facility and a new housing complex for single students. The university designed the complex to house either gender based on student needs and changes in community housing.
The new Central Energy Facility will be constructed on land currently occupied by the Biddulph Hall parking lot, adjacent to the existing heat plant facility on the southeast corner of First West and Viking Drive (Fourth South). The new housing complex will be built on vacant university property on the northwest corner of First West and Seventh South.
"These two projects address critical needs for the university," said Wayne Clark, managing director of University Operations at BYU-Idaho. "The new housing complex will replace on-campus housing that has reached the end of its useful life. With this project we'll be able to provide a better on-campus living experience for students. The new heat plant will allow us to maintain campus facilities in a more efficient manner."
To comply with federal environmental regulations, the university will be replacing its coal-fired boilers with new equipment that uses natural gas. This transition has brought the current facility, completed in 1963, to the end of its usable life span. After the new Central Energy Facility is completed, the old facility will be demolished. The adjoining chiller plant, completed during a 2009 expansion of the heat plant, will remain and will be integrated into the new structure.
As with previous large-scale construction work on campus, these projects will require the closure of a number of parking lots, streets, and sidewalks. The Biddulph parking lot is closed permanently as of September 30. West Campus Drive will now be designated as "A" parking for employees from Physical Plant Way to Center Street. Sage Street will be unaffected by these projects.
The portion of First West in front of the new housing complex, from approximately Fifth South to Seventh South, is owned by BYU-Idaho and will be closed for the duration of the construction process. This section of First West will serve as a staging area during construction before being converted to parking for the completed housing complex.
"The closure of parking lots, streets, and sidewalks is an unavoidable part of the construction process," Clark said. "We recognize it can create a significant inconvenience for the campus community and the public. Patience and planning are key to working around that inconvenience."
Throughout the construction of both buildings, the university will provide students, employees, and the community with regular updates on closures as well as alternate routes and parking locations.
Construction of the heat plant is expected to be complete in 2016. Completion of the housing complex is anticipated in 2015.