In March 2013, Boise Weekly reported
on how the Boise State University Department of Arts wanted to consolidate a number of departments currently scattered in five buildings across the Boise campus. Officials are now looking to the City of Boise for special height- and setback exceptions in plans to build a new Fine Arts center, which would be built on what is currently a parking lot between the Micron Business and Economics Building and the Towers dormitory along the Boise Greenbelt. The Micron building is 84-and-a-half feet tall (it received a height exception), and the city's height limitation on the site is 75-feet. Developers say they want a more uniform look for the buildings when they move forward with their plans for the arts facility.
The interesting dynamic of the proposed Fine Arts building is it would only be four stories, but its mechanical systems are complex, requiring large air handlers and exhaust systems, thereby requiring more space.
Officials say the new Fine Arts building would be a "gateway," much like the Micron building, because of its location on Capitol. The building would be primarily built from limestone, similar to the Idaho State Capitol, but its main exterior feature would be a large corner window on the southeast side and another large expanse of glass on the north where views into the building's gallery will be seen from south-bound traffic on Capitol Boulevard and from pedestrians entering from the west.
"Its slenderness is purposeful in accentuating the building's height," wrote Scott Henson of LCA Architects. "The upper slender section is filled with glass from floor to ceiling that is set back to control western sunlight. During the day on the interior of the building, this area is used for a gathering and critique area for students on all levels. At night, it will become a beacon for the"arts on campus with light flowing out onto Capitol Boulevard."
Officials with the City of Boise Planning and Zoning Commission will get a closer look at the plans during their Monday, Oct. 12 session.
It has been talked about, mostly in private conversations, for years, but now Boise State University officials are ready to go public with plans to build a high-profile Fine Arts building, further changing the university's footprint along Capitol Boulevard.