BYU-Idaho President Henry J. Eyring, who was acting in his role an Area Seventy for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, formally dedicated three new facilities on campus including the Visual Arts Studio, Engineering Technology Center (ETC) and University Village Community Center.
Prior to the dedicatory prayer, three representatives offered remarks about each building. Brian Memmott, the dean over Performing and Visual Arts, began by answering the question, “Why does the Church dedicate?”
“The purpose of this ceremony is to set aside the building for the work of God. This dedication I hope provides perspective for us. Most of the activities that occur in these buildings also occur in other university campuses. Will dedicating these spaces to God and to sacred purposes change anything about those activities? I believe that it can,” Memmott said.
The Community Center was added to the University Village Married Housing in 2019 as a space for families and friends to gather and form lasting connections.
Terrie Larsen designed the play center for kids located just past the front desk. It features green carpet squares that mimic grass, light blue walls, a tree house, kitchen play area and stage with functioning lights.
“What else would you want if you were a kid?” Larsen asked.
Troy Dougherty, director of the Student Housing and Living Office, described the care taken in building these facilities, particularly the University Village Community Center.
"We saw it all the way through, from the first shovel into the ground to the last patch of paint,” he said. “Yes, we saw all the many stages from start to finish, the beautiful craftsmanship and the hard work of contractors and sub-contractors and our talented architect, Brother Aldredge, that serves as an employee here on campus. We're just so blessed by the finished product."
The ETC is in the former Auxiliary Services Building. It now serves Construction Management, Civil Engineering and the Automotive Academic departments.
“The dedication really sets this place apart as a place for learning, where the Spirit can be and they can learn the things they need to learn with the help of the Holy Ghost,” said Jim Lawrence, the associate dean for Student Success in the College of Physical Science and Engineering.
The Visual Arts Studio is in the footprint of the old Oscar A. Kirkham Building. The Visual Arts Student opened its doors to students in the 2021 Spring semester. Aside from letting in natural light, the glass exterior allows passersby to view student artwork in lit display cases.
Before closing with the dedicatory prayer, Elder Eyring encouraged students to properly utilize the resources this campus provides, emphasizing how the early students of Ricks College could have greatly benefited from what we now enjoy. He then asked for the watchfulness of God over these new buildings.
“Heavenly Father, upon each of these now dedicated spaces, we ask thee to open the windows of heaven and pour out thy blessings of continued ministering and mentoring of ongoing guardianship and guidance for students, teachers, and children. We gratefully offer each of these new additions to this beautiful campus unto thee … We do this in the name of thy beloved son Jesus Christ, Amen.”