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Eye On Boise

Idaho Water Center opens

A large crowd of appreciative state legislators and University of Idaho alumni marked the official opening of the Idaho Water Center, the last remaining piece of the UI’s failed University Place project in Boise. While the other planned buildings were canceled amid a whirlwind of scandal and debt that toppled former UI President Robert Hoover, the water center is opening with offices, classrooms and labs for the UI’s Boise engineering classes, the Idaho Water Resources Research Institute, the Idaho Department of Water Resources, the Ecohydraulics Research Group, and the U.S. Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station.

UI President Tim White said the new center will give students opportunities to work hand in hand with world-class scientists, and tours showed off everything from a planned giant research flume for studying mountain river dynamics to a combustion lab where if all goes wrong, the far windows are designed to blow out to relieve pressure.

Senate Education Chairman Gary Schroeder, after touring the six-story building that’s still being finished up, quipped, “I think they’ve got a lot of empty offices – they oughta put the House over here.”

That would put the larger body a good 10-minute walk away from the state Capitol, where the Senate has its digs and House members have their chambers, but little office space.

Eye On Boise

News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.