University of Idaho administration building marks centennial
The stately Tudor Gothic-style building in the middle of campus has long been the model of choice for the University of Idaho's advertising campaigns and the hub of the school's operations.
During a normal school day, hundreds of students, professors and administrators pass through the building's heavy wooden doors, barely stopping to notice the worn marble under their feet or the sagging stained-glass windows in the auditorium.
The historic Administration Building is quietly celebrating its 100th birthday this year, but few realize the building has reached the century mark.
"I wasn't aware it was the centennial," UI senior Evann Tveden told the Moscow-Pullman Daily news. "I like the outside architecture. It's beautiful."
Rachel Lankston, who works at the Java Nook, a coffee shop inside the building, said she had no idea the building was 100 years old.
"You can tell it's a classic building. It stands out," she said, pointing out the ivy climbing up the side of the building. "It feels like a cathedral. It's definitely something they show on the campus tours."
University officials have long tried to preserve the historic building. But restoring it has brought some challenges.
"Over the course of time, things are perhaps done that aren't correct," said Ray Pankopf, the university's director of architecture and engineering services. "About 10 years ago we realized that from where it started to where it is ... the character was somewhat degraded."
The school now has guidelines to ensure future construction projects maintain the character and style of the building.
For example, the preservation plan calls for any replacements to use the same type of material as the originals. So when officials decided to replace eroding marble steps a few years ago, they opted simply to flip over and reinstall the existing marble treads in an attempt to save money, Pankopf said.
But once the treads were removed, workers discovered that someone long ago had already taken the same approach.
"We found that the bottoms of the tread were already eroded," Pankopf said. "Someone already had that bright idea."
Construction on the current version of the building began in 1907 after a fire destroyed the original. Boise architect John Tourtellotte was appointed by then-University President James Alexander MacLean to design and build the structure. Tourtellotte modeled the building after England's Hampton Court Palace.
The first phase of the building was completed in 1909 at a cost of $140,000, said Nathan Bender of the UI Archives. The north wing - which includes the stained-glass-adorned auditorium - was built in 1912 at a cost of $75,000, and the south wing was built in 1920 at a cost of $90,000.
A few new projects are scheduled for the building this summer, Pankopf said, including office renovations and renovations of the southeast entrance. Those projects are expected to cost $425,000, he said.
Information from: The Moscow-Pullman Daily News, http://www.dnews.com
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