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Idaho Arena to Use Mass Timber Construction

Idaho Arena rendering

The forthcoming Idaho Arena will include a distinctive feature, as the University of Idaho is mass timber construction for the venue. 

Last fall, the University of Idaho revealed some details of its new arena, which will be home to a several sports programs, including men’s and women’s basketball. According to recent figures published in The Spokesman-Review, the university has raised 67% of its $30 million fundraising goal, and could open the arena by 2020 or late 2019.

In planning Idaho Arena, the university is making timber a mass timber construction a focal point. According to university officials, this feature not helps connect the arena to local industry, but follows a pattern that has been used for other campus projects. More from The Spokesman-Review:

“It ties in with our land grant mission. It ties in with the timber industry. It ties in with our need for a facility. This is really resonating with people,” UI Athletic Director Rob Spear said.

As the UI works through the transition that will see it return to the Big Sky Conference as a football-playing member in 2018 after two decades as an NCAA Football Bowl Series school, the new arena is a bold statement UI athletics are not simply retrenching.

Mass timber construction, while a well-established technology in Canada, is still new in the U.S. The university already built a plant nursery with wood.

“It won sustainability awards,” Spear said.

According to an announcement issued by the university in February, the Idaho Arena “would be the first signature wood facility of its size built within the state.” Design of the arena is being handled by the Portland-based Opsis Architecture. In addition to sports, the arena is expected to host other performances and events.

Renderings courtesy Opsis/Hastings+Chivetta/KPFF

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