Boise State’s 2015 Master Plan


Don Day


Boise State’s 2015 Master Plan

A premiere part of Boise is plotting its next evolution – and a major update to the Campus Master Plan for Boise State University could radically remake the area.

The draft plan was just released, and plots out as many one hundred buildings, projects, remodels, road changes, greenways, stadiums and more to be carried out over the next 30 years and beyond.  Since the 2005 master plan, a whopping sixteen projects have been completed. The new plan hopes to accommodate student growth to as many as 35,000 enrollees by 2035.

There’s a lot to the plan – more than 100 pages of renderings, maps, outlines and more. Headlines:

  • Large portion of University Dr. would be closed
  • Major “west campus” expansion
  • Business building, Campus School, Towers Dorm, Kinesiology, Bronco Gym marked for removal
  • Possible new baseball stadium, hotel or new 15,000-seat entertainment complex
  • New “Bronco Plaza” near Albertsons Stadium
  • New pedestrian bridge over Boise River
  • Miscellany 

  • Much of University Blvd. would close; new street added
  • The school is formally pushing ahead with its long-rumored desire to mostly shut down University Boulevard. The master plan would turn the street into a “university mall” between Joyce Street and the west side of Albertsons Stadium. What does that mean? A pedestrian and bicycle-friendly greenway that would become the center of campus and a focal point for much of the new development. Campus gateways would be created or enhanced on either end of University, but cars would quickly be pushed off University.
  • Major West Campus expansion
    • The area south of University on the west side of campus was a major point of focus for the new plan, and would see a complete overhaul if all the plans are carried out.
    • On the west side, cars would go from University, then onto a brand new “Center Street,” which would connect from near the Brady Garage which would essentially supplant University for vehicles. The street is part of an entirely new campus “precinct” known as West Campus (what you would probably think of as the current west campus would be called the Riverview District).
    • Center Street would cut through an existing residential neighborhood, with most homes being demolished to make room for the the campus. Boise State has the power of eminent domain and would be able to take over properties. A review of many of the properties in the area shows some are own by the Idaho State Board of Education, but many remain in the hands of private owners. 
    • The plan would eliminate the current Chrisway St. in favor of a southward greenway that would connect to the Boise River Greenbelt. My review of the 21 properties along Chrisway shows that the ISBE owns just three of the parcels – with the rest being owned by private homeowners, investment companies, and the Alpha Chi Omega sorority.
    • New academic and housing buildings would dominate the area.
    • Overall, the campus hopes to add 2,000 beds for full-time students to live on Campus.
  • Business building, Campus School, Towers Dorm, Kinesiology, Bronco Gym marked for removal
  • The plan would eliminate several current campus landmarks to make way for other facilities or infrastructure. 
    • The business building (renamed Riverfront Hall in 2014), would be torn down as part of a renovation and expansion of the Quad. The idea is to treat the area along the Greenbelt as the campus “front yard” instead of the service corridor that is currently defined by Cesar Chavez Ln. This change would be in the first ten years of the plan and is part of a major focus to add green space across campus.
    • Campus School would be torn down for green space and connectivity. Riverfront Hall and Campus School would be replaced by a new classroom building north of Brady Garage adjacent to the Interactive Learning Center.
    • Towers Dorm would stop towering and be replaced by a new Music-Theater Performing Arts Center in phase two (10-20 years out). The new center would be an 800-seat venue and would sit in the NW corner of campus between the Morrison Center and the Fine Arts Building that is slated to be constructed along Capitol Blvd. next year.
    • The current Kinesiology Building and Bronco Gym would make way for upgraded VIP and ADA-compliant parking for Albertsons Stadium & Taco Bell Arena.
      • A new Natatorium (19 on the map below) and 500-seat fieldhouse for Olympic sports (18), plus a major parking structure for 2,000 cars (29) would likely be constructed south of Albertsons Stadium along Belmont St.
      • An alternate plan toward the end of the document floats the idea of a future 5,000 seat baseball stadium, or a potential 15,000-seat replacement venue for Taco Bell Arena. The current TBA would be retained and reconfigured to focus solely on athletics, with the new building being used to host concerts and other events. The baseball stadium could even be paired with a new hotel.
  • New Bronco Plaza
  • A new plaza would help dress up the east side of campus near Albertsons Stadium (shown in the rendering above). This would be part of the plan’s goal to dress up the gateways to the university.
  • New pedestrian bridge
  • With bicycle and pedestrians a major focus, the plan calls for a revamping of the Friendship Bridge into Julia Davis Park to add dedicated bicycle lanes and fix the current landing on campus (it’s a mess of pedestrians, bikes and even cars on Cesar Chavez.
  • A new bridge at an undisclosed location over the river is also called for. The 2016-2017 rebuild of the Broadway Bridge is also said to be a boon to cyclists.
  • More, more, more
  • Along with the soon-to-be-built stoplight at Royal Blvd. across Capitol Blvd. near the river, the plan indicates another stoplight could be added at Capitol Blvd. and Boise Ave. It notes that topography and light spacing could make this difficult, but would help traffic flow on that part of campus.
  • Students said they want more on-campus housing, more outdoor spaces, plugs & wi-fi, especially outdoors, more/better food, improved wayfinding, and a more consistent campus design. Quite a laundry list, but the plan does address many of those needs.
  • Geo-thermal would be expanded as the campus grows – helping to make the campus sustainable and energy efficient.
  • Reversible lanes could be implemented, especially in the so-called athletics district. This would potentially help traffic flow during Boise State football and basketball games.
  • A large number of parking garage-spaces would be added as the school continues to eliminate most surface parking. The largest would be the 2,000-space garage near Albertsons Stadium.
  • The open space near the SUB would be revamped with more seating and hardscape, and phasing out the sports field here in favor of spaces elsewhere on campus – including a new field near Beacon St.
  • If you want to read all 100+ pages – it’s been filed with the City of Boise, and lives right here.

^ Rendering looking east from near Capitol Blvd.

^ Study areas

^ Road network – notice changes to University and new Center Street

^ Parking, parking everywhere

^ All the proposed new buildings


Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don is the founder and publisher of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow. Contact him at [email protected].

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