The state Board of Education has unanimously approved the University of Idaho’s plan to accept land from Jacklin Seed Co. to create the Riverbend Research and Training Park in Post Falls.
But board members on Thursday stressed concerns about the relationship between the school, Jacklin Seed Co. and the University of Idaho Foundation.
One was which party would be responsible for potential lawsuits. A university report called suits “a matter of speculation at this time.”
“Jacklin, the foundation and UI will likely seek to be responsible only for their own negligent acts or omissions and not those of the other entities.”
Earlier this month, the foundation accepted a gift of 28 acres from Jacklin Seed, a bluegrass grower.
It is collateral for construction to house both classes and private business. The foundation made its acceptance contingent on sound financing and the university having a presence on campus.
The agreement should not prohibit the school from working with other companies around the state, said board member Curtis Eaton of Twin Falls.
On Wednesday, Electronic Packaging Associates President Alan Golub of Hayden Lake made public his efforts to get the university to locate a research park on his land.
School officials said they considered the proposal, but it did not include a comparable land donation.
Golub said a professor at Idaho asked him to question Jacklin’s relationship with Washington State University.
Jacklin is threatening to pull financial support from Washington State over a critical study on the impacts of smoke from bluegrass field burning.
Jacklin and other growers are upset about its conclusion that the public health benefits of reducing grass smoke outweigh the costs to farmers.
Stressing that situation is unrelated to Riverbend, Idaho President Robert Hoover said schools are always struggling with such issues.