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Idaho State University Presidential Residence Committee tours Servel House and holds discussion

February 27, 2015
ISU Marketing and Communications

The independent fact-finding committee charged with assessing the current condition and making recommendations for future plans of the Servel House, ISU’s presidential residence facility, toured the facility during this week’s meeting.

During the tour the committee discussed issues related to safety and security, maintenance, efficiency and suitability for hosting University functions. In discussing these issues committee members described the facility as “beautiful and historic,” but expressed concerns related to the functionality and liability of the facility for University events.

The committee also reviewed the Idaho State Board of Education’s Governing Policies and Procedures regarding Institutional Presidents: Housing, Automobile and Expense Reimbursement (Section I, Subsection E):

“The institutional Presidents are responsible for hosting official functions to promote their respective institutions. At institutions with official residences, the Presidents of such institutions are required to live in the official residences provided. To preserve the image of the institutions and to provide adequate maintenance of state-owned property, the institutions shall provide support services for these residences. This support shall include maintenance and repairs, utilities and grounds keeping…”

At the committee’s request, information was gathered and provided regarding the presidential living arrangements at other universities, including Boise State University, University of Idaho and the Utah System of Higher Education.

In addition, the committee noted that the Idaho State Board of Education’s 2012 contract with President Vailas includes a specific section on Housing:

“The public and common portion of the residence shall be furnished with furniture and furnishings at no cost to the President. The President is responsible to furnish at the President’s own expense any personal living quarters at that residence that are separate from that public and common portion.”

To date the committee has also reviewed the facility condition assessment report completed in September 2014 and discussed the University’s facility maintenance funding allocations, specifically noting that ISU does not have a dedicated allocation to the Servel House facility, but rather funds University maintenance as a whole.
The committee includes representatives from the University’s alumni, faculty, staff, students, as well as community leaders: Dirk Driscoll, Shelbie Harris, Kim Hirning, Valerie Hoybjerg–committee chair, Sarah Knudson, Amy Manning, Phil Meador, Eva Nye, Dan Ordyna, Tom Ottaway, Jordan Reed, John Sargent, Corey Schou, Jenny Semenza, Syd Sharp, Kyle Son and Josh Tolman.

At the conclusion of their work the committee will provide a written recommendation to the administration for possible solutions that best fulfill the current and future needs of the University.

Suggestions and comments for the committee can be emailed to


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