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Posts tagged: Capitol Annex

New law center taking shape in old Ada Courthouse, former temporary capitol

Construction is underway at the future Idaho Law & Justice Learning Center, formerly the Capitol Annex, and formerly the old Ada County Courthouse across the street from the state Capitol. Through a collaboration between the Legislature, the state judiciary, and the University of Idaho, the building is being transformed into the future home of the state law library, the Boise branch of the University of Idaho College of Law, and an array of civic education and outreach efforts that will include displays and tours for school groups and the public.

Members of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee joined university and Idaho Supreme Court officials for a tour of the project today; there’s lots of work being done in the building as offices are framed, plumbing and electrical systems modernized and more. Plywood sheathing blocks off and protects the building’s original architectural features, which will keep their original look. The large former courtrooms that served as the Idaho House and Senate chambers for two years while the state Capitol was being renovated will stay largely as-is, becoming large classrooms for the law school. The second floor of the building will become the law library and will be open to the public. The building also will have study spaces for law students, offices and more.

Idaho Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Burdick told the group that the idea for the center was outlined by then-Chief Justice Gerald Schroeder in his State of the Judiciary message to the Legislature in 2007. In 2008 and 2009, the building was temporarily transformed into the Capitol Annex; now, it’s getting remade again. UI President Chuck Staben said, “This is a real collaboration, and it’s very consistent with the U of I’s mission.”

The Legislature allocated $6 million for infrastructure for the building in five phases, to keep the structure usable for any use; the University of Idaho has raised $1.66 million, all from private funds, for the tenant-specific improvements, including a $1 million gift from the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation.

JFAC Co-Chair Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, said, “I was impressed that they had the vision to do that with it.” She noted that when the state first acquired the building, when Ada County moved out to its newly built courthouse, the thinking was just that the site was within the Capitol Mall and perhaps would be used for parking or other uses. But concerns over the idea of demolishing the historic 1930s art-deco building led to other ideas. “We found it’s a perfect fit for higher education to bring it to Boise,” Bell said. “So it was there, and I’ll be happy when it starts producing.”

The building has been vacant since it served as a temporary Statehouse, but the plans call for it to open as the new Idaho Law & Justice Learning Center in the fall of 2015. Bell said she’d long thought it was “the ugliest building in the mall,” but said after the tour, “It’s amazing what they can do with good bones.”

UI says it’s raised $1.1M to turn old courthouse into Idaho Law Learning Center

The University of Idaho says it has raised $1.1 million in gifts and pledges for renovation of the old Ada County courthouse, now known as the Capitol Annex, into a new Idaho Law Learning Center. The old courthouse, which hosted two sessions of the Legislature while the state Capitol was being renovated, has stood vacant since; it's tabbed as the future location of the Boise branch program of the University of Idaho College of Law; the Idaho State Law Library, which is open to the public; state judicial education offices; and other law-related public programs.

The UI also says it's raised another $500,000 from donors for education programs at the new center, which initially will include the third-year law school Boise program authorized by the State Board of Education in 2008 and started in 2010. That program, which has graduated nearly 60 students, is currently housed at the Idaho Water Center at Broadway and Front. Click below for the UI's full announcement.

Million-dollar foundation gift to help turn Capitol Annex into ‘Law Learning Center’

A million-dollar gift from the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation will help turn Idaho’s Capitol Annex - formerly the Ada County Courthouse - into a new Idaho Law Learning Center, housing the state law library, the University of Idaho’s Boise law program, and the state’s judicial and legal education programs. The gift from the Idaho-based foundation is specifically for the building renovations, which are targeted to be completed within two to three years. The state law library, which is operated by the UI College of Law under an agreement with the Idaho Supreme Court, previously was housed in the Idaho Supreme Court building on its first floor, but was squeezed out by the expansion of the state Court of Appeals; the law library is now split into two locations, the Supreme Court’s basement and space at Key Bank downtown.

“Idaho’s public College of Law is distinctive in its ability to serve the state through a unified program that offers opportunities in two locations,” said Don Burnett, the law school dean. “Our state benefits from having homegrown legal expertise that supports economic development and other legal services that Idaho families and communities need. The public also will benefit from enhancements to the Idaho State Law Library, which is used by the general citizenry and by students throughout the Treasure Valley, as well as by the judiciary and the legal profession. We are profoundly grateful to the Idaho Supreme Court for its leadership in developing this concept.”

UI President Duane Nellis said, “The Idaho Supreme Court, the University of Idaho and the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation all have a long and rich history of serving the state of Idaho. This gift links to a shared heritage and moves us forward. We are gratified by the foundation’s investment in the university’s and college’s mission to provide public legal education to the state.” Click below to read the UI’s full announcement; the UI began offering third-year law courses in Boise this week as the first step in its Boise law program.

Annex construction is soldiers’ memorial

There’s been a whole lot of digging and concrete work going on around a flagpole in front of the Capitol Annex, the former Ada County Courthouse where the Legislature held its sessions in 2008 and 2009 but that’s now standing vacant. Here’s what it is: It’s the Idaho Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial, which state public works administrator Tim Mason says is “in recognition of those Idahoans who have given their lives in the War on Terrorism.” The project is a permanent replacement for the circle of flags that’s been growing in the park area behind the Borah Building over the past several years.

“The money has been raised through donations and private gifts and the design and construction is being donated also – no cost to the state,” Mason reported. The memorial is scheduled to be dedicated on 9/11 of this year.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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