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With enrollment up, Boise State looks at large new dorm along Boise River

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Boise State is looking to add a new dorm building to the campus, giving first-year students a place to stay right along the Boise River.

The school hopes to turn a current parking lot just to the east of the Albertsons Library on campus into a dorm, with about 450 beds. While many elements of the project are still in flux, Boise State officials hope to have it open for students in the fall of 2025.

“We are evaluating both budget and construction schedule,” Senior Project Engineer Brittany Austin said. “Our utmost goal is that timeline, so we are having to work backward from there with construction type and building height to meet that schedule.”

Boise State is asking for a height variance from the City of Boise. Campus buildings over 75 feet in height need approval from the city, though Austin said the final height is not yet dialed in.

“We’re not sure what the whole project looks like, but we have to get this process moving, and we are thinking we will at least bump up against that 75 feet,” Austin said.

‘Trying to meet demand’

Boise State continues to see enrollment rise, while at the same time, the Boise housing market has seen large increases in apartment rental rates. Nearly a dozen private apartment projects have been built around the campus over the last decade, and more are in the works.

“We are, as a campus, constantly evaluating the need for housing, and the need continues to rise,” Austin said. “We are trying to meet that demand for students coming in. It’s a neat location and we’re really excited about the project.”

Boise State has transitioned from a commuter campus to seeing more students live in or around the classroom. For the 2020-2021 school year, enrollment stood at 24,103 students, with 34% coming from out of state. Idaho Ed News reported this spring that Boise State could see a surge in enrollment from inside the state this year, though final enrollment figures aren’t yet available.

As BoiseDev reported last year, Boise State won approval from the State Board of Education for the dorm and initial planning spending. Boise State said at the time that it was short about 750 beds, mainly for first-year and graduate students.

The new building along the Boise River would sit next to a number of other dorms, including Driscoll, Keiser, Morrison, Taylor, and Chaffee Halls. The dorms have been built over the last 70 years, with Morrison and Driscoll dating to 1951. Keiser and Taylor are significantly newer – but with 2004 opening dates are both nearly 20 years old. The last on-campus housing started accepting students in 2017, with the Honors College and Sawtooth Hall along University Drive.

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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