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December 16, 2010 by Brett Crandall at Local 8 News.
REXBURG, IDAHO — After more than four years of construction, the new BYU-Idaho auditorium is finally finished.
The university designed it with plenty of space so it has room to grow.
“Our primary purpose was to create a gathering space,” said Brigham Young University-Idaho President Kim B. Clark.
Clark called the BYU-Idaho Center the capstone project for the university’s foundation.
“They (the BYU-Idaho Center and Manwaring Student Center) mark the completion of the creation of the university,” Clark said.
The new auditorium will house events like weekly campus devotionals, graduation ceremonies and even regional church conferences.
“In the future, I’m sure there will be other projects and other things that will happen, but I doubt that in your lifetime, I would be surprised if we see anything like the BYU-Idaho Center on this campus,” Clark said. It took more than 25,000 cubic yards of concrete to build the 15,000 seat auditorium. That’s enough concrete to build a 6-foot-wide sidewalk from Rexburg to Pocatello.
But it’s not just an auditorium. It also houses a huge broadcasting center, which the university built for the future.
Clark described the center as a big chapel with a cultural hall connected by a foyer.
“It’s just a little unusual that the chapel seats 15,000 and the cultural hall has 10 basketball courts,” Clark said.
“This facility will be used from early in the morning to late at night,” said BYU-Idaho Vice President Charles Andersen.
The expansion of the Hyrum Manwaring Student Center is also complete, doubling its original size.
The new additions include a new ballroom, dance studios and a student activities center.
“I think over time it will be a magnet that will attract students and activities and be a great blessing to this campus,” Clark said.
Construction of buildings is now finished, but students can expect to see some big changes in landscaping over the next year.
Because it’s a school, the Center was designed so the university could have everyone back to class in less than fifteen minutes.
The dedication is at 10 a.m. Friday.