POCATELLO — For the first time in over 20 years, the Idaho State University campus is getting an addition.
With more than 100 in attendance Thursday morning, dignitaries representing ISU and Idaho Central Credit Union, a major donor of the project, flipped the ceremonial shovels marking the spot for soon-to-be-built ICCU Bengal Alumni Center.
University president Kevin Satterlee, in speaking prior to the ceremony, spoke proudly of the center as a gathering place for alumni. It will serve as a new on-campus hub for current students, a place to honor past students and a greeting area to welcome Bengals home.
“This center means more than all of those parts and those pieces when they come together because this center means we are again demonstrating to our community that we are investing in the future of this university,” he said.
Satterlee went on to call the breaking of the ground a “quintessential forward-looking occasion” for the university.
The 26,281 square-foot facility comes with a price tag of $11.5 million, which is what made the idea a dream of the university for more than two decades. But thanks in large part to a $2 million donation from late alumnus Jack Wheatley, the project was jumpstarted in 2017.
Since, an additional $6 million has been raised, including $1.5 million from Idaho Central Credit Union, which now has its name attached to the center.
ICCU CEO Kent Oram, who graduated from ISU in 1983, spoke passionately prior to the groundbreaking, calling the campus “a beautiful place.”
“We just owe a debt of gratitude to Idaho State University, for everything that you do for us,” he said. “We do things all across the state, but this is our home, this is where we grew up.”
By we, Oram was referring not only to himself but all of the nearly 1,600 ICCU employees, 300 of which, he said, are ISU alums and 175 more are currently working toward graduation from ISU.
“What a wonderful place, what a wonderful thing this is to have in our community and we’re just really proud to be a part of it,” he added fighting back tears. “We’re just proud. Proud to be here. Proud to have made an investment in our community.”
Ryan Sargent, ISU’s Executive Director of Alumni Relations, spoke to the pride he felt as well, calling this a proud day for all ISU alums — one more than 20 years in the making.
The ICCU Bengal Alumni Center, when completed, will sit near the front of the campus, perched between the main entrance and Holt Arena. There, it will serve as an “inviting and warm gateway to campus, to welcome the world to ISU,” according to Sargent.
“The ICCU Bengal Alumni Center will celebrate our marvelous history (and) promote Idaho State’s mission while articulating our vision for the future,” he said.
ISU expects the alumni center to be completed by the spring of 2023.