BOISE — On Thursday, the Idaho State Board of Education unanimously approved proposals from Idaho State University and the University of Idaho that both institutions say will help them raise funds and grow enrollment.

The Board granted ISU permission to increase construction costs and begin building the Idaho Central Credit Union Bengal Alumni Center on the Pocatello campus.  It also authorized the University of Idaho to enter into an agreement with Alaska Airlines to establish air service to and from Moscow and the Treasure Valley.

The cost to build the Bengal Alumni Center recently increased by $2.5 million due to inflated labor and construction costs. The ISU Foundation agreed to serve as guarantor of the additional funds.  The $11.7 million facility will be paid for with $9.7 million in donated funds and $2 million in university reserve funds.  Construction should be complete in about two years.

The University of Idaho agreement with Alaska Airlines will provide daily flights five days a week between the Moscow-Pullman and Boise airports. The agreement stipulates that the U of I would guarantee annual payments up to $500,000 for three years if revenue from the regular flights do not make a profit.

University of Idaho President Scott Green says the arrangement will help improve student recruitment efforts in the Treasure Valley.

“From the point of view of the two communities, this is a real benefit that will reflect well on the University of Idaho and its innovative approach,” Board member David Hill said.

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