Church Reaffirms Its Commitment to Education With the Dedication of Two Buildings at BYU-Idaho
On a frigid Friday morning, thousands gathered on the campus of Brigham Young University–Idaho in Rexburg as President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, dedicated the BYU-Idaho Center and Hyrum Manwaring Student Center.
“Today we honor and express our appreciation to all who have sacrificed to make the construction of these facilities possible,” said President Eyring. "The BYU-Idaho Center and the Manwaring Center “represent vast contributions of time, effort and tithes.”
Elders Russell M. Nelson and David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, as well as Elder Paul V. Johnson of the First Quorum of the Seventy and Church Commissioner of Education, along with their spouses, were in attendance.
President Eyring and Elder Bednar are former presidents of the institution, which was formerly called Ricks College.
“I am often asked if I knew, as president of Ricks College, what its future held,” said President Eyring. “I did not see that the college would become the university it is today. There were only subtle impressions — feelings that this was a special place that needed to keep its spiritual standards high while staying close to its roots.”
“This dedicatory service truly is historic,” Elder Bednar said, addressing a packed center, “and you will one day tell your children and grandchildren that you were present when this remarkable facility was dedicated by President Henry B. Eyring.”
The BYU-Idaho Center, which will open in January, is the school’s newest and largest building on campus and contains a 15,000-seat auditorium and a multipurpose area large enough for 10 full basketball courts.
“These buildings have been constructed primarily for the purposes of gathering,” said BYU-Idaho President Kim B. Clark. “Students and employees will be strengthened spiritually, academically, physically and socially as they have opportunities to gather together. We are grateful to have these buildings on our campus.”
The center is able to broadcast in HD with the donation of 12 high-definition cameras and other broadcast equipment from the LDS Conference Center in Salt Lake City.
“There’s a lot of excitement; everyone has talked about this for a very long time,” said Donald Kelly, a student.
“The first time I came up here, there was always fences and construction going on,” said student Ashley Close.“It’s great to see this finished and see the students and faculty excited about it. We all want to gather together and we can do it in one building, which is great.”
The Manwaring Student Center, originally constructed in 1966, was renovated in three phases and includes an expanded food court, dance studio suite and a new university store.
“The university is on a steady, upward course that will allow it to play a remarkable role in the Church and the world,” said President Eyring.
BYU-Idaho is one of four postsecondary schools affiliated with the Church; the others include Brigham Young University-Hawaii, LDS Business College and Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
BYU-Idaho recently approved an increase in their student enrollment cap from 12,500 students to 15,000.