A Building Remembered
 Spori Memories: The end of an era   
The letters R and A once again blazed on top of the Spori, recreating a scene from 1915. A parade of torches stopped on the lawn in front of the building.
Students, employees and friends of Ricks College gathered Oct. 14 for a final farewell to the venerable Spori Building. By actual count some 1,707 persons are shown in this picture.
The letters R and A once again blazed on top of the Spori, recreating a scene from 1915. A parade of torches stopped on the lawn in front of the building.
Demolition began at midnight (for safety reasons) on Nov. 29. Much of the front wall of the building had been pulled down prior to the start of the fire.

By 4 a.m. Nov. 29 
the entire building was engulfed in flames. Firefighters controlled the blaze, but did not attempt to extinguish the flames.
October 13, 2000—Members of the audience at the Hallelujah Homecoming Spectacular in the Hart Auditorium gave a standing ovation to the performers, past and present, then participated by waving blue and white glow sticks in the grand finale song “One Light.” A large-sized, painted canvas depicting the Spori Building dominated the stage for the emotional finale. 

Edna Taylor, granddaughter of Jacob Spori, and Kimber Ricks, great-grandson of Thomas E. Ricks, were featured in a video honoring the Spori Building as part of the Spectacular.

Following the concert, a bit of school history from the early 1900s was recreated. President David A. Bednar marched at the head of a torch light parade through campus. The parade finished in Viking Stadium where the stands were almost full of students and others. Nearly 100 young men from the Ricks Men’s Association took part in the parade, representing each year of the Spori Building’s existence.

From the stadium, celebrants could see a lighted giant “R” and “A” atop the Spori Building. The 15-foot high letters were a re-creation of a gift given by the academy’s junior and senior classes to the school in April of 1915.(Adapted from articles printed in Oct. 17, 2000 edition of Scroll)

October 14, 2000—Students of Ricks College and the general public were given one last opportunity to visit the Spori Building at an open house and celebration prior to the annual Homecoming football game. Exhibits of commissioned art works and other memorabilia were on display in the lobby. A free potato-feed was held on the lawn in front of the building and at noon some 1,707 persons (yes, someone actually counted them in the picture) gathered at noon for a memorable photo. (Photo is available in 8x10 color print for $5 from the Alumni Office)

November 29, 2000—Nearly a century ago, construction of a new classroom and administration building for the Bannock Stake Academy blazed the trail for educational commitment in the Upper Snake River Valley. The three-story building used rocks hauled by horses from a nearby quarry and was painstakingly constructed on the hill overlooking the budding community of Rexburg. The building became a historic icon and in 1964 was renamed the Jacob Spori Building in honor of the first principal at the academy.

In the wee hours during a cold late-November night, the Spori blazed once again—an unforeseen fiery conclusion. Some of those on the scene to watch and record the demolition, pondered if perhaps the fire was the building’s way of saying goodbye in a more fitting manner than being pulled apart stone by stone.

Much like the pillars of smoke pouring from the burning edifice, the impact from the final blaze has drifted far from the local community. Reporters called from news media throughout the Intermountain West and there was substantial increase in traffic to the college’s web site. It seems the fire gave people one more chance to reflect on their memories that will continue to burn warm within their hearts.

Soon a new building will be constructed on the same location. It also will be based on a solid foundation of education, and it will inherit the name of the Jacob Spori Building. It is destined to become yet another image recognized for commitment to new generations as educators blaze trails of discovery in an era of expanding horizons. (From Dec. 5, 2000, Inside Ricks e-mail newsletter by LaNae Poulter)