See photos and learn more about the 3 new additions to BYU–Idaho campus

BYU–Idaho President Henry J. Eyring dedicated the new Visual Arts Studio, the Engineering Technology Center and the University Village Community Center on Oct. 27

BYU–Idaho President Henry J. Eyring functioned in dual roles during dedicatory services for three new additions to the Rexburg, Idaho, campus on Thursday, Oct. 27: as university president and as an Area Seventy.

During the ceremony, the university president shared history, perspective and counsel to students, faculty and guests, as well as offered the dedicatory prayer for the Visual Arts Studio, the Engineering Technology Center and the University Village Community Center.

After describing the many features and resources the new buildings will provide to the campus, President Eyring noted he couldn’t help but contrast these amenities with what his family experienced when they first moved to Rexburg in summer 1971.

His father, President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency, had agreed to serve as the 10th president of Ricks College — the predecessor to the university.

With the college growing, housing was hard to find, and the family — which included three young, energetic boys — initially moved into a college-provided single-wide trailer on the edge of campus.

“My mother never complained about the crowded conditions, nor the heat inside the trailer. She knew that we were in the right place,” President Henry J. Eyring recalled.

Today, tithe payers of the Church are generously paving the way for the growth that will likely continue in enrollment on campus and online.

“However, we must also remember that, ‘[U]nto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required’ (Luke 12:48),” President Eyring said.

Visual Arts Studio

Students began utilizing the 8,800-square-foot facility on the northeast corner of campus in spring 2021. The building and adjacent parking lot replace the old Oscar A. Kirkham Building, which was demolished in August 2019. 

During the dedicatory service, President Eyring paid tribute to the old Kirkham Building, which was named after Oscar A. Kirkham, who taught music at Ricks College from 1903 to 1906 and later become a general authority as a member of the First Council of the Seventy. 

The building was completed in 1959. It hosted numerous prominent speakers in its 900-plus-seat auditorium, including former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt on March 2, 1959, and its large stage facilitated many dance and theater productions.

“The renowned fine artists of the Ricks College days — as well as those of today — would be envious of the resources and space we now dedicate,” President Eyring said of the new facility.

Besides two large classrooms for sculpting and ceramics classes, there are locker rooms for storing projects, a lobby that doubles as a gallery and a storage area equipped with kilns, clay and other supplies. There is also an area for a woodshed and a metal foundry for bronze sculpting. 

With ribbon windows on the east and west walls, a skylight above the foyer, and floor-to-ceiling glass on the north side, the building is awash with natural light perfect for showcasing compositions.

In the dedicatory prayer, President Eyring prayed “that the light of Thy Holy Spirit may likewise shine down, illuminating the works of creative art rendered there.”

Brian Memmott, dean of the College of Performing and Visual Arts, noted that as an alum of the university, he was tremendously blessed by studying art under the tutelage of dedicated faculty. 

“The buildings where I grew and learned my vocation have become sacred places,” he said. “My prayer is that this will happen for the students who come here also to these buildings.”

Engineering Technology Center

When Greg Roach, dean of the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering, was first asked to serve as a department chair in 2011, roughly 415 students were majoring in construction management, zero in civil engineering and 125 in automotive technology. Today, there are 960 students in construction management, 305 in civil engineering and 490 in automotive technology. “That is some impressive growth,” Roach said.

The new Engineering Technology Center will provide much-needed classroom and lab space for students seeking training and managerial experience in those programs. 

The 34,272-square-foot facility was formerly known as the Auxiliary Services Building and was dedicated in 1974. It housed Stores and Receiving, the University Press, Surplus and Mail Services. Following an extensive remodel, the building now features:

  • An auto lab with 25 work stalls, an engines lab, a tool checkout room and 50 exterior parking stalls to store lab vehicles.
  • The construction management and civil engineering departments share lab space, including a concrete-curing closet, soils storage, compaction area and two instructional labs.
  • A large student collaboration area that allows students to observe work safely behind glass in the automotive shop.

In the dedicatory prayer, President Eyring noted that students studying construction, automotive and engineering sciences are transforming the physical world to help ameliorate poverty and advance physical productivity and comfort. 

“We bless these walls to protect those within from outside harm and influence, as they literally build a better world,” President Eyring said.

Roach expressed gratitude to the architects, construction workers, engineers and others who helped to build “these magnificent facilities.” 

“You all helped contribute to build something great, something lasting, something life changing, and something that will bless students for many, many years to come,” he said.

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University Village Community Center

The new community center will serve as a gathering place for families and children living within the campus married-student housing community of University Village.

“This building was built intentionally for University Village tenants to have a location outside of their apartments to get them out and about,” explained Kyle Williams, university operations managing director, “for special occasions, church functions, family gatherings, group meetings, studying, exercising, social interaction with friends, cookouts and firesides, and playing with families and children.”

The facility is split into 6,227 square feet of interior space and 3,008 square feet of covered exterior patio. The indoor space includes a reception area, office, conference room, lounge area, fully stocked kitchen, exercise room, two music rooms, game room and a children’s playroom.

The outdoor area features three covered patios, two gas fire pits, a barbecue grill and plenty of soft seats, tables and chairs.

President Eyring blessed it to be “an extension of homes and as a place of holiness and happiness, where eternal families can be edified together.”

The vision is for it to be a place where families, children, employees and guests can laugh, cry, study, learn, teach and share testimonies of Jesus Christ, Williams said.

Thursday’s dedicatory program was conducted by Jon Linford, academic vice president, and featured music by the BYU–Idaho Collegiate Singers, who sang “Savior, Redeemer of My Soul.”

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