The “I” on Red Hill on the ISU Campus
But now, the “I” is not on Red Hill
The “I” on Red Hill on the Idaho State University Campus has been an icon for ISU and Pocatello from 1927 to 2014 when it was removed because of safety concerns caused by erosion of Red Hill.
In a look-back to the early days of ISU I came across an article published in the ISU student paper on 9-11-2013 which gives a brief history of the “I”, which originally was a “T”. See the full article by Staff Writer Brenna Patrick below. The article ends with:
“Once the school became a university in 1927 an “I” was created on top of the hill that has become a reminder of the fight the students went through to get their university.”
And now, a recent article in the Idaho State Journal states:
“ISU just wouldn’t be the same without the “I,” and some feel the university has already lost it. Idaho State University’s iconic “I” was removed from the hill above campus two years ago, and even though officials have said there are plans to replace it, they have not yet announced a timeframe to do so.
That’s frustrating to Geoff Ranere, who earned two associate’s, a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from the school and served as its student body president in the mid-1970s. He said the “I” proudly proclaimed ISU’s identity for decades, and photos of the emblem were often included in old yearbooks. Now there are sophomores who have never even seen it.
We need our identity back,” Ranere said, adding that the loss of the icon makes it seem like people aren’t proud to have the school here. “It looks like we’re withdrawing from the world.
Ryan Sargent, associate director of Alumni Relations, said the “I” was removed in the Spring of 2014 because of safety concerns caused by erosion on Red Hill.
After its removal, a committee composed of ISU officials, alumni, faculty, staff, community members and students considered several options and later recommended the replacement of the “I,” he noted.
“ISU is now working with constituents to secure the funding necessary to complete the project,” Sargent said. “The university understands and greatly values the affinity that many of our alumni felt towards the ‘I’ on Red Hill. We are focused on a establishing a future icon that will build upon existing school pride.”
Still, Sargent was not aware of a set timeframe for replacing the “I,” and ISU officials weren’t available on Friday to answer more specific questions about the cost or their plans.
Ranere wants to know those plans.”
So should we all!
Let’s bring back
The “I” on Red Hill on the ISU Campus
_Su: Red hill
September 11, 2013 By Brenna Patrick – Former Staff Writer
ISU’s historical “I” recently began slipping down the side of Red Hill raising many questions regarding its future.
Due to erosion and other environmental factors the “I” reportedly poses a safety risk as it slowly inches down the hill. As of right now there are no definite solutions to the problem.
In a press release sent this summer, Public Information Specialist Andrew Taylor wrote, “Idaho State University officials have determined the iconic ‘I’ on Red Hill in Pocatello poses a safety risk and a committee comprised of students, faculty, alumni and community members has been formed to make recommendations on the structure’s future.”
Taylor added that “a trail on Red Hill located downhill closest to the ‘I’ has been closed and will remain closed until safety issues have been resolved. The east side of this upper trail on Red Hill is cordoned-off and has signs declaring the closed area on its north and south ends.”
Taylor said the ISU Facilities Department did a study of Red Hill earlier this year and noticed its slipping state which raised a red flag for the department.
”ISU will now engage the services of an independent Idaho registered professional engineer to further assess the safety concerns, review ISU’s internal reports and make recommendations on repairing or replacing the ‘I,’” said Taylor.
In the same press release, ISU President Arthur C. Vailas said, “As we review the issues identified in the three studies, our goal is to preserve the history of this university and resolve any safety concerns.”
The “I” has been on ISU grounds since 1926.
According to “A Centennial Chronicle” by Diane Olsen the “I” was originally the letter “T” because ISU was a two-year technical institute. It was created in 1919 but “no one considered erosion a problem and the city proceeded to use gravel from Red Hill to fill the potholes” around the “T.”
As ISU grew as a school, students called for it to become a four year institution but ISU’s department heads weren’t all on board with the idea.
The school underwent other major renovations at the time but nothing was done about the “T”.
On Oct. 28, 1926, the students of ISU made the decision to go up the hill and turn the “T” into the numeral four to symbolize their needs of a school where they could get a four year degree for everyone in the community to see.
A flag was placed over top of it but it didn’t last long.
Once the school became a university in 1927 an “I” was created on top of the hill that has become a reminder of the fight the students went through to get their university.