The Center on Main is moving and getting a name change in the next few months. Students will still have a direct lifeline to the heart of downtown at the Center’s new location on in BoDo.
“We will continue to offer classroom and event space. We are in the process of deciding how to best use the new location,” wrote Melissa Lavitt, dean of the College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs, about the new space. “Ultimately, the BoDo space will serve similar outreach goals as the Center on Main.”
The Center on Main is a classroom and community event space currently located on Main Street in downtown Boise, between 10th and 11th streets. It shares the Alaska Center building with Radio Boise, the only community radio station in the Treasure Valley, and local artists and businesses.
Students interact with the community of Boise in a real way at the Center on Main, according to Todd Shallat, Ph.D., director of Center for Idaho History and Politics at Boise State. From learning about urban planning and sustainable development, to going next door after class for a beer, students who attend classes and events here can develop a sense of place in a different way than if they stay on campus.
“When Boise State plays a role in teaching (students) about the city, we’re teaching them about place,” Shallat said while walking through the streets of downtown Boise. “We need to figure out how to develop downtown so it’s mixed use. It’s the future of Boise and students are involved in that.”
Shallat toured the BoDo location recently and was excited by the potential of the new space.
“I’d like to see lots of student work displayed,” he commented while wandering around the site. “The community comes in here and the students have a real opportunity for networking.”
The former realtor’s office gives an impression of being important, with exquisite wood paneling and large pristine windows facing both Capital and Front streets. City Hall and the Capital Building are just a couple blocks north, providing opportunities for students to have hands-on experience with public policy and local governance while taking classes.
“It’s important for students to cross the river,” said Mari Vitale, coordinator of the Center on Main. “Boise State needs to have a presence downtown.”