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Wassmuth Center to build new education center next to Boise’s Anne Frank Memorial

The Wassmuth Center for Human Rights plans to build a $3 million human rights education center next to the Anne Frank memorial, which it manages.

The building will sit on the backside of the memorial waterfalls and border Ninth Street across the street from Cottonwood Grille, the center’s executive director Dan Prinzing told the Idaho Press. The City of Boise agreed to amend its licensing agreement with the center, adding the parcel of land that the building will sit on. The area is currently a parking lot.

Wassmuth Center Boise
A diagram of the new Wassmuth Center expansion in Downtown Boise. Via Erstad Architects/BoiseDev graphic

“It’s more than a building; it’s what it represents, and it’s what it’s going to do in expanding human rights education in the state of Idaho,” Prinzing said.

[Dozens of business leaders ‘defiantly stand united’ against vandalism at Frank memorial, call for action]

The center’s announcement came Monday, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the center’s 25th anniversary and Idaho Human Rights Day. The center publicized the news after a virtual concert event, hosted by Prinzing and Diana Lachiondo, a former Ada County commissioner who previously voted todeclareJanuary as Human Rights Awareness Month.

‘Need now more than ever’

The announcement comes after someone placed stickers stamped with swastikas and the words “WE ARE EVERYWHERE” on what’s believed to be the only Anne Frank memorial in the country.

“Clearly an edifice of this type is needed now more than ever,” said Andy Scoggin, who led a capital project funding the expansion. “We’re excited to see the new educational arm of the center which will bring much good to our city and our state for years to come.”

Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial
Flowers and signs left at the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in Boise after stickers with swastikas were removed. Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

The construction will also include art — a new metal sculpture by Boise metal artist Ken McCall called “Uplifted” that draws upon the text of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights for inspiration, Prinzing wrote in an email. On the learning center, “One of the building exterior walls will become a dramatic backdrop to the Memorial — visually soaring from 9’ to 22’ — representing the soaring of the human spirit.”

After raising $1.5 million over the last six months, the center hopes to break ground in the fall.

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