First Wood Column Set as ICCU Arena Takes Shape at U of I
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First Wood Column Set as ICCU Arena Takes Shape at U of I

News Release | U of I NEWS

MOSCOW, Idaho — June 2, 2020 — A 90-ton crane sits just outside the concrete footprint of what will be the Idaho Central Credit Union Arena on the University of Idaho Moscow campus.

Friday it swung its massive arm above the soon-to-be basketball court to set the first 35-foot-tall wood column, culminating nearly a year of site prep and concrete work. Efforts begin this week to place more than 442 tons of glulam beams and columns in the 62,000-square-foot engineered-wood basketball arena and event center.

“This unique building showcases Idaho’s wood industry, one of Idaho’s biggest industries and an industry U of I has played an integral role in for decades,” said President Scott Green. “It is an icon of vibrance and a beacon in an otherwise difficult time.”

More than $43 million of the $51 million project has been raised from private funds to build the arena – money that cannot be spent to offset the deficit caused by COVID-19 or anything else.

“Our donors are excited to see the arena take shape,” said Mary Kay McFadden, vice president for advancement. “They believed in this extraordinary project from the beginning.”

The lead gift, $10 million, came from Idaho Central Credit Union, a generous gift that gave the company naming rights for 35 years.

Work began on the arena in July 2019 after a groundbreaking ceremony attended by U.S. Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen and heads of Idaho wood-product companies. The partnership with Idaho’s $2.2 billion wood industry is the basis for the wood structure. These critical partners support the building as an example of what can be done in the realm of modern wood construction.

Idaho Forest Group is harvesting trees from the University of Idaho Experimental Forest as well as surrounding public and private lands to process into lamstock for beam production. Boise Cascade in Homedale and QB Quality Laminators in Salmon are processing the lamstock into glulam beams for the walls and roof structure. PotlatchDeltic in St. Maries is processing finished veneer plyboard for the roof. Tri-Pro Cedar Products in Oldtown is processing the finished cedar siding to create a modern architectural design.

“The entire industry in Idaho is coming together in amazing ways to complete this one-of-a-kind construction,” said Dennis Becker, dean of the College of Natural Resources. “Showcasing Idaho’s wood is great for industry, and it serves as a living laboratory for our students as we train them to be the next wood-industry leaders.”

Over the summer cranes will continue to set immense wood beams and bring to life the architectural work of Opsis Architecture and StructureCraft, with work being led by Hoffman Construction, the general contractor.

The Idaho Central Credit Union Arena will be the home of Vandal Basketball beginning in 2021 and will house events for students and the community.

“The excitement of a new arena has our student-athletes and our fans buzzing,” said Athletic Director Terry Gawlik.

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