Boise State University's Computer Science Department is splitting sheets with the College of Engineering and getting new digs in the City Centre Plaza.
Tuesday morning, representatives of Gardner Company, Boise State and the city of Boise gathered at the site of the new development to announce that Boise State's computer science program will get two whole floors, totaling more than 50,000 square feet, of the multi-use development that will also include retail, restaurant and office space, as well as the headquarters of Boise tech company Clearwater Analytics.
The Boise State build-out could cost at least $15 million
and the State Board of Education will be asked to consider a 20-year lease between the university and Gardner Company.
"The industry has been wrestling with workforce issues," said Dr. Mark Rudin, Boise State vice president for research and economic development, who went on to say that bringing Boise State's computer science department into downtown would increase education and future employment opportunities for students, and provide access to qualified job applicants to downtown tech businesses.
"There's no movement as bold as picking up the department and moving it downtown," he said.
Boise State President Bob Kustra noted that lately, the university has expanded its footprint north of the Boise River, and that placing students closer to real-world applications of their skills is a significant step for the university as a whole.
"This is an incredible expansion of Boise State's mission and role," he said.
Following the announcement, Boise State students and faculty walked from the Grove Plaza to the 17th floor of the Zions Bank Building for a reception and chances to describe their computer science projects. One current Boise State CS student described the partnership between Boise State, Clearwater Analytics and Gardner Company as reducing barriers between students and their internships and future employers.
At a Clearwater Analytics presentation by Patrick Dodgen and Kai Boschma, the Boise State computer science graduates and current Clearwater employees told how they worked with a Boise State intern on a project that would provide business investment intelligence to major clients like Facebook, Starbucks and Netflix. The project creates an in-depth web interface for executives that tracks and analyzes stock correlations—a business resource that links businesses by the rising and falling of stock prices.
"It was good to see people learn using a new code base," said Dodgen.