Property Type: Institutional
Neighborhood: Boise State University  |  County: Ada  |  Building Status: Public  |  Architectural Style: International
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The SUB could be considered the heart of Boise State and a vital part of Boise itself. The SUB is home to the over 250 student organizations, 180 workers, 120 of which are students, and many balls and concerts every month. The ballrooms are constantly reserved for one event or another from a governor’s inaugural ball, multiple vice-president speeches, a speech by Al Gore, and even a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert to the Science Day Competition each year. The student union building is open to the public as well, with multiple bowling lanes, pool tables, and a full arcade. The SUB holds an average of 6000 visitors per day, recorded on electronic people counters on all the entrances. The SUB also serves an average of 3000 meals per day to hungry college students. All these numbers are still expected to boom as the population of Boise State and Boise itself booms.

The original student union building was located in one of the buildings downtown and was created in 1942. This building had the bone basics for a student union building, and did not even have a complete bookstore let alone a ballroom or a coffee shop. In 1960, the actual student union building was built, having an area of 27,000 square feet. In 1975 an addition was added to support the rising size of the university and added about 65,000 sq. feet to the original size.

As the university continued to grow, so did the need for more space, which resulted in the largest addition in 1999 which added around 93,000 sq. feet and much of the second story, sacrificing vaulted ceilings and open rooms for more square footage for the dollar. In 2007 the most recent addition is being added and is expected to be finished in about one year from now in 2009, and is to add about 67,000 sq. feet, boosting the size of the SUB to an astounding 252,000 square feet! With an expected student population next school year (2008) reaching over 20,000 students, an addition was greatly needed. MHTN, a firm based out of Salt Lake City, was chosen to work with Boise architects including Scott Henson, the lead architect for the build. Henson’s wife is also the interior designer for the added on areas of the building. For the size of the university, the book store is about half the size it should be, the dining hall and student “life space” also needed expanding as well.

Currently, the SUB turns away about 25 people per month on average that wants to reserve the ballroom based on lack of space. To fix this problem, another ballroom is being added. To account for increased community use of the gaming area, there will be more bowling lanes added. A hard part of the add on according to Leah Barrett, executive director of student development at BSU and Jack Rahmann, the director of the student union was the loading/unloading docks. The docks are a hard part because you have to keep them out of sight (and smell), yet have easy access to them when there are entrances to the sub on every side of the building. Prior to the add on, the docks (including trash unloading) were in the open on the east side of the building next to the gaming room entrance. To fix this, a wall is being created so that the trucks and cargo are out of sight and so the smell of the area is also greatly reduced.

The most heavily used entrance, located on the north side of the building was only one single door, constricting entrance severely, so the whole wall is being blown out and a much larger entrance is being put in its place to accommodate the traffic. Lastly, the whole western side of the new north wing (as seen in the pictures with plastic over it) will be all glass to let in more light and warmth, saving money on energy costs.

The construction on the SUB is expected to end January 2009, with the east facing game room entrance finished by September 2008.

For more pictures of the construction visit this link: