Seven years ago, Boise resident Brian Dearborn noticed something strange going on in the alley beside Bittercreek Alehouse on Eighth Street. There was a camera set up and a group of people were trying to get passersby to jump in front of it for a photo. The photos were intended to advertise something called "JUMP."
"I thought, 'What the heck is going on?'" said Dearborn. "Now, seven years later, I still don't fully understand."
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A view of JUMP from the corner of Front and 9th streets.
On the afternoon of Oct. 2, Dearborn and more than 100 other curious Boiseans gathered at the still-under-construction Jack's Urban Meeting Place for a presentation on the enormous structure bordered by Myrtle and Front streets and Eighth and Ninth streets.
"There's nothing quite like it that we've seen anywhere," said Kathy O'Neill, community engagement director for JUMP. "Even after we open the doors, it will continue to evolve and change based on community needs."
She said JUMP will be a place where the community can come together and create, share dreams and discover passion, complete with a "kaleidoscope of changing activities and events."
JUMP will include two large ballrooms, the larger of which will hold up to 600 people, as well as five different studios. There will be the Play Studio, which will include state-of-the-art recording equipment, as well as cameras and editing labs. The Movement Studio will be a place for dance and yoga classes. The Maker's Studio will provide woodworking, soldering and welding equipment as well as the latest 3-D printers. The Inspiration Studio will act as a conference room-like think-tank, and the Share Studio will provide a venue for culinary classes and competitions. The studios will all include fees for public use.
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Along with the various studios, JUMP's campus will also include a three-acre urban garden complete with an outdoor amphitheater. Coming off the building's "helix core" will be a five-story slide and a shorter eight-person slide. The building will feature a deck with a pergola, an outdoor fire pit and a barbecue.
Sprinkled throughout the site will also be 52 antique tractors on display from late-potato magnate J.R. Simplot's collection. He bought 110 of them at an auction in Billings, Mont. in 1998 with plans to open an agricultural museum. They'll dot his Urban Meeting Place instead.
"Some of them were so heavy, we had to move them in first, and then build around them," O'Neill told the audience. Take the one on display from the west side of the building. That tractor weighs 26,000 pounds.
The development will also act as a connection between the greenbelt and downtown. extending the Pioneer Pathway from River Street to a new pedestrian light signal on Ninth Street. The southwestern side of the block is slated to become Simplot's headquarters.
O'Neill gave no completion date for the $70 million project, but she's already keeping a list of organizers interested in renting space for future events.