BYU-Idaho is always looking for ways to improve facilities for the learning and growth of its students. It is for this reason that the Mail Services, Surplus Sales, and Stores and Receiving are moving out of the Auxiliary Services Building to a new location west of campus.
The move was first officially considered about two years ago when President Henry J. Eyring expressed a desire to make more academic space in the current Auxiliary Services Building. With the automotive, construction management, and civil engineering programs growing quickly over the past few years, BYUIdaho College Dean of Physical Sciences and Engineering Greg Roach says the Austin Building is running out of space to accommodate them all.
“Construction management has grown from about 400 students back in 2016 to 900 today,” Roach said. “Automotive also doubled in about that same time.” As these departments expand into the Auxiliary Services Building, it will give students more opportunities for hands-on learning in their field of study.
Why have these programs grown so quickly? Roach says much of it has to do with the high employment rate after graduation and the quality of the programs.
“Automotive and construction management have 100 percent employment after graduation. The automotive program is the largest bachelor’s degree automotive engineering technology program in the entire United States, with almost 500 majors, so those programs have just really grown,” Roach said.
While making more room for students in the Auxiliary Services Building will be advantageous for academics, University Resources needed to find a new workspace for Mail Services, Stores and Receiving, and Surplus first. Several new locations for these support services were considered, including the old Walmart building on 2nd East.
Soon after these discussions began, the Church acquired Christensen’s Autobody shop and the adjacent vacant lot on 4th South as a potential location for a new meeting house. Because the Church had not yet made any final decisions about the property, it was willing to lease the former autobody shop to BYUIdaho. The lease is set for three years, after which time the location of the support services departments will be reconsidered.
“It being a lease, we don’t know how temporary it will be, but the Church is working with us,” said Andy Johnson, director of Architecture and Construction Management Services.
The unique services that Stores and Receiving, Mail Services, and Surplus provide for the university means some renovations were necessary at the new location. The former Christensen Autobody now dons the name University Support Services Building and houses several offices with abundant workspace for the support services departments.
Mail Services and Stores and Receiving moved into the new space between the winter and spring semesters.
Headwaters Construction has already started renovations on the Auxiliary Services Building and will continue to work on the project for about the next year. The new academic space is expected to be completed by Spring 2022 Semester, after which it will be renamed the Engineering Technology Center.
Seven new offices will be added to the existing four, and student study space will be added to the floor plan. About thirty new bays for parking cars and an engines lab will be built for the automotive department. Two additional labs will be built for the construction management and civil engineering departments.
“We are just super grateful for the support of the university in this move,” Roach said.
The Purchasing and Travel Department will stay in its current location.