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IDAHO EDUCATORS SWAP LAND FOR LDS INSTITUTE

The state Board of Education has signed an agreement with the LDS Church to exchange land and a parking lot on the Idaho State University campus for an LDS institute building.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints plans to construct a new institute building on a parking lot across from the Eli M. Oboler Library and an LDS stake center on 10 acres of Bartz Field.In exchange, Idaho State will take possession of the existing institute building with its 22 offices, 14 classrooms, a library and an 850-seat lecture hall.

The university also will put up $145,000 for the deal, which officials say makes up the difference in value between the building and the two parcels of land. The institute building has been valued at $925,000, the Bartz Field land at $160,000 and the parking lot at $620,000.

ISU Physical Plant Director Darrel Buffaloe said the space in the institute building is in high demand.

"Our need has about tripled since this started. I've had three deans come to me and tell me they really need that building," Buffaloe said.

He said Idaho State officials will decide during the next 18 months which university department will use the institute building. Possibilities include KISU-TV, the College of Education or the anthropology department.

But the building will only help solve part of the space problem at the university, Buffaloe said.

"We're so cramped for space, it's not even going to come close to solving our problems," he said. "But I'm tickled to have the new space."