University plans to tear down 4 midcentury homes

Posted at 12:54 PM, Oct 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-14 14:54:04-04

Boise State University plans to tear down four midcentury houses between University Drive and Boise Avenue and replace them with grass, raising concerns among neighbors about the university’s long-term plans.

The four now-empty homes, each with two or three bedrooms and less than 1,400 square feet of space, were built between 1951 and 1961. Boise State bought them between 2008 and 2012 and used them as rental units for visiting professors, staff members, students, and other renters, according to the Idaho Statesman.

The houses are west of the university’s Lincoln Recreation Field and south of the Honors College and Sawtooth Hall student housing. The four homes have deteriorated to the point that it isn’t worth spending money to maintain them anymore, BSU spokesman Greg Hahn said.

Ed McLuskie, a retired communications professor, said the university should reconsider. He said the demolitions will erode the neighborhood.

“My view — and it’s the view of residents that I know — is that these houses could still be rehabbed,” said McLuskie, who lives on nearby Verna Lane.

The four houses that Boise State University is looking to demolish are marked with black outlines. The map mistakenly shows open space where a house actually stands next to the outlined home at far left.

The university did not contemplate selling the homes, either to see if someone else was willing to rehabilitate them or to raze them and build anew, Hahn said. “That wasn’t considered since that area is in the university’s long-term master plan as a place where growth and expansion may one day occur,” he said

Boise State owns 10 of the 21 homes along Potter, including the one at Potter and Oakland. Ownership gives the university a head start if it decides to expand the campus south.

“The university does need some housing options for new faculty and administrators, as well as visiting professors and others,” Hahn said. “But, in general, the university evaluates opportunities to buy properties that could one day be in areas in or near potential future expansion — even if that decision may not ultimately come for many decades.”

Two houses are next to each other on the north side of West Potter Drive, with a third two doors farther west. The fourth house is across the street at the corner of Potter and South Oakland Avenue.