St. Luke’s Medical Center began moving the first of 10 homes and commercial buildings off its Downtown Boise campus late Thursday night and early Friday to create room for new medical buildings.
The buildings have historical significance that make them worthwhile to preserve, said Theresa McLeod, St. Luke’s director of community relations.
“We aren’t required to save them, but it really is the right thing to do,” McLeod said.
St. Luke’s said it consulted with Preservation Idaho, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Boise Historic Preservation Commission and other groups. The organizations spent two years identifying buildings of historical significance on the St. Luke’s campus and discussing how they might be saved.
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Two of the buildings being moved — including the two-story Fred Reiger House, which was moved this week — are on the National Register of Historic Places, and others are eligible for National Register listing.
Crews for Western States Movers of Nampa worked this week to lift the Reiger House at 214 E. Jefferson St. off its foundation and onto a trailer.
The house, designed by famed Boise architecture firm Tourtellotte & Hummel, was built in 1910. The bungalow-style house and another house built next door were described by the Idaho Statesman at the time of their construction as “two of the finest appearing buildings of this style of architecture in Boise.”
Starting just before midnight on Thursday, crews moved the house onto Avenue B to an empty lot a block south, at Avenue B and East Bannock Street. That lot is also owned by St. Luke’s.
The house has been used as St. Luke’s construction and architecture office. The hospital plans to keep it but hasn’t decided how it will be used at the new location, spokeswoman Anita Kissée said.
A second house, the 1935 Bishop Foote Guest House, is named for Norman Foote, who served as the Episcopal Church’s bishop in Idaho from 1957 to 1972. It will join the Fred Reiger House at the lot at Avenue B and Bannock Street. The Bishop Foote house will continue serving as a guest home for adult patients.
A Kuna company, Reclaimed Structures, bought the other eight buildings and will begin moving some of them next week and continuing through fall. The company said it is working with Preservation Idaho to identify suitable locations that would keep them within Boise’s historic neighborhoods. At least one structure, a duplex on State Street, will be moved to the Boise Bench.
The eight buildings haven’t been updated in some time, so they will be restored and then sold.
“Our intent is to modernize them and preserve their historic value and charm,” Reclaimed Structures owner Logan Patten said in a news release.
The main St. Luke’s campus at 190 E. Bannock St. is undergoing a major renovation and expansion. Work began this spring on the $42 million Idaho Elks Children’s Pavilion. The addition to the St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital, at Jefferson Street and Avenue B, kitty-corner from the Fred Reiger House’s old location, will more than double the amount of clinical space for treating children.
Future improvements include construction of a new hospital tower, parking garage and central plant. St. Luke’s will also modernize the Mountain States Tumor Institute and the children’s hospital, and upgrade the current hospital tower.