Boise State University marked the opening Tuesday of its new Honors College and Sawtooth Hall with a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Home to 656 students, the new five-story, $40 million building includes Honors-dedicated living and learning spaces, as well as housing for other students, a dining venue, classrooms and spaces designed to boost the student experience on campus, BSU officials said. The 236,000-square-foot building is on University Drive, near the center of campus, across the street from the Student Union Building.
Boise State’s Honors College has more than doubled in size in the past five years, according to a BSU news release, growing from 400 students to 925 students. In 2017, 750 students applied -- up from 350 applications in 2016. Numbers for next year are ahead of the current pace, officials said.
“The new building helped drive that explosive growth, and it provides a first-rate facility to take our program to another level of distinction,” said Honors College Dean Andrew Finstuen.
The honors program is designed to support and challenge the highest-achieving students on campus.
During a dedication ceremony Tuesday, Boise State President Bob Kustra said the building was designed to positively impact both student learning and living -- and noted that it also is unique in that it was made possible by a public-private partnership, the first of its kind in Idaho.
Boise State partnered with EdR Collegiate Housing, who built and will operate the facility. EdR owns or manages more than 42,000 student beds across 77 communities, and built the new Honors College building without taking on any debt that could affect Boise State’s debt capacity or high credit rating.
“We look forward to a long and productive partnership with Boise State,” said Randy Churchey, EdR’s CEO. “The commitment and forethought of the administration here at Boise State to modernize student housing and the on-campus living experience, through the Honors College and Sawtooth Hall, demonstrates the dedication they have to student success.”
Boise State’s Honors College has been the academic home for some of the University’s top students from all majors for nearly 50 years. School officials say it has helped make Boise State a top choice for high-performing students in Idaho and across the country.