Three new buildings dedicated at BYU-Idaho
REXBURG – Students and administrators at Brigham Young University-Idaho gathered Thursday morning for the dedication of three new buildings on campus.
One of the buildings is the Engineering Technology Building at 525 South Center Street. The 34,272-square-foot building, which formerly housed stores and receiving, University press, surplus and mail services, underwent an extensive remodel to accommodate students in construction management, civil engineering and automotive engineering.
Prior to the dedication, Greg Roach, the dean of the physical sciences and engineering department, praised the contributions of many people over the years whose efforts created a need for this updated building.
“Students in these programs are benefitting from the foundation that was put in place many years ago in the Ricks College Days,” Roach told those in attendance.
Roach said he sees “companies and industries that will grow and thrive because of (the) talents, skills and leadership qualities” students will obtain in the ETC.
The ETC was formerly known as the Auxiliary Services building and was dedicated in 1974.
Other buildings that were dedicated Thursday include the Visual Arts Studio, which sits where the Kirkham building once stood off of East 3rd South. The University Village Community Center at 111 West 7th South opened in 2020.
The 8,800-square-foot visual arts studio began operation in spring 2021 after two years of construction. It’s designed to function as a student gallery and includes classrooms and other space to store equipment and art projects.
“The front of the building, facing north, is entirely composed of glass, making it possible for individuals passing by to easily view the studio’s lobby,” a BYU-Idaho news release says.
The Kirkham building was torn down in 2019 after 60 years of operation. At the dedication ceremony, university president Henry J. Eyring spoke fondly of its namesake, Oscar A. Kirkham, who taught music at Ricks College from 1903-1906 and later served in the First Presidency for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Eyring also shared his memories of seeing “the finest entertainment” inside the Kirkham building’s auditorium.
“In the 1970s, my family lived in Rexburg for seven years. I enjoyed high-quality Broadway musicals and other plays, as well as symphony performances and choirs. Dance was similarly represented,” Eyring recalled.
The Kirkham Building became a refuge during the Teton Dam Flood in 1976 and Eyring said he was caught trespassing in the building as a boy.
“Several young friends … decided to buy cap guns at our Main Street drugstore. Finding the doors to the Kirkham auditorium unlocked and the lights off, we enjoyed a royal shoot out. The ruckus drew the attention of a campus official. He politely, but firmly, showed us the door,” Eyring said.
Eyring’s father, Henry B. Eyring, who currently serves in the First Presidency, reminded him to respect the buildings on campus.
Though the Kirkham building no longer stands, Eyring says the new Visual Arts Studio is a tribute to the Kirkham building’s legacy of art and education.
“What we now have in the new visual arts building is just right for our student’s needs as they develop their talents and share creative beauty with others,” he said.
The University Village Community Center is a gathering place for students and their families. The 6,227-square-foot indoor space includes a reception area, office, conference room, lounge area, kitchen, exercise and music room, game area and children’s playroom.
The building also has 3,008-square-feet of patio space on the outside.
Kyle Williams, the managing director of university operations, thanked the architect, Chad Aldridge, for the design of the community center.
“(We) thank him for his dedicated service to the university,” Williams said. “We thank the general contractors, Headwater Construction, and their team of subcontractors for execution of the design and sharing their craft with the university and students. We’re grateful to the Church for providing funds in support of our families.”