Colonial Hall, one of Idaho State University’s oldest buildings will be temporarily closing due to “potential structural problems,” according to ISU marketing and communications director Mark Levine. The building houses offices for 23 College of Science and Engineering faculty as well as two student labs, who have since been moved to a temporary space until a second assessment can be completed. But what exactly are these structural problems?
Levine said a firm called Gibson Engineering did the initial assessment of the building as a regular state audit. Gibson found cracks in the foundation, interior and exterior of the building, which could be a problem. The key word there is “could.” The next step, said Levine, is to hire another independent firm to do a secondary assessment of the 70-year-old building to determine if those cracks are real problems, and if so if they can be fixed. Once they get that information in a few weeks, the university will decide what to do with Colonial Hall.
“I don’t want to speculate, but if it’s not inhabitable, then one can probably draw a conclusion as to what the next step would be,” said Levine. The important thing to remember, however, is that the closure is only temporary. Although the possibility of a permanent closure looms ominously in the future, it’s still too early to make that kind of declaration, he said.
Right now, ISU’s main concern is just with the safety of the people who work in Colonial Hall. “The paramount issue is the safety of the people that inhabit that building,” said Levine. “You’ve got to ensure that they’re safe, nothing else matters, whether it’s one year old or 100 years old.”