Conjoined buildings in the heart of the University of Idaho campus have been closed since Friday after a water filtration backwash system failed and flooded a mechanical room in the basement.

UI Communications Director Jodi Walker said water damaged a transformer, knocking out power in both the newly named Idaho Student Union Building and the Teaching and Learning Center. She said as crews attempt to locate a permanent replacement transformer and generators to shore up power needs, offices and classes housed in both buildings have been relocated to sites all over campus.

“For the most part, a lot of office spaces (were) relocated to the Pitman Center, as well as a few other places around campus,” Walker said. “The classes are just relocated all over campus — our registrar has been amazing at relocating classes and making sure everyone can continue doing what they do.”

Walker said the Office of the Registrar worked through the weekend to find space on campus for everyone and placed a guide on the UI’s website. Still, for some the temporary relocation has been “an adventure.”

“Today I had a class in the LLC (residence halls), which was an interesting experience to use one of their classrooms,” student Emma Shaul said. “We ended up having to go find one of our classmates because he got lost.”

Walker said while the water has been removed from the TLC/ISUB basement, electricity has yet to be restored. She said the closures will continue at least through today, but crews are working quickly to identify solutions and will have the buildings reopened as soon as possible.

The cost of damages has yet to be estimated, Walker said.

Scott Jackson can be reached at (208) 883-4636, or by email to

Recommended for you