The historical building located in the heart of downtown Boise at 341 W Washington Street and was built in 1921. The buliding was was purchased in 1967 by The Idaho Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired. The brick building has approximately 20,000 square feet and has 5 levels including a basement. The basement includes a low vision clinic and store for low vision exams and a training room where staff train the blind and visually impaired with special devices such as lamps, magnifiers and specialized Closed Circuit TV’s which enlarge print so that the visually impaired can read and view other items such as photos. Also located in the basement is a wood shop were blind students train in shop skills such as small engine repair and carpentry skills. (Students use table saws, drills and equipment with sleep shades on so if they lose more vision they will be able to perform these tasks with no vision at all) Also in the basement of the building is the boiler system as well as the master controls for the electric and plumping.
The first floor has Administrative offices, the second floor is where students attend classes 7 hours a day 5 days a week learning activities of daily living skills, computers, cooking, cleaning, banking, job readiness and braille.
The third floor and fourth floors have dorm room rooms where students live for 6 to nine months while attending blind skills training.
In 2005 the commission received 2 mill in funding from the State Permanent Building Fund to remodel the building in which the integrity of the historical building to remain due to the fact the Building is on the historical registry. After construction began in 2006 the contractor realized it would be double the cost for the remodel which included all new plumping, (the new boiler cost 250,000 by itself not including labor) electrical and a heating and air conditioning as well as new and updated plumbing fixtures- toilets, sinks, showers and tile. The building was also supposed to be ADA accessible (Americans with Disabilities Act) which included larger door ways and hand railings. Although the building is occupied by ICB currently, it is in the building’s long past where the exciting mysteries can be discovered.
When the building was originally designed in 1904 it was a part of St. Luke’s hospital. During this time period there were many questions surrounding the study oh human anatomy. As a small fix to this thirst for knowledge surrounding the human species, cadavors were conducted in the basement of this historical building. Yes, for around 10 years or so there were people dissecting dead bodies in the current day Idaho Commission for the Blind.
While these scientific experiments were being conducted in the basement nuns were occupying the upper floors.
After the Nuns left, Boise State community college bought up the property and held it as a fraternity house.