The first of several historic homes will be moved off St. Luke’s property next to the Boise Medical Center starting this month. Up to 17 residential and commercial buildings could be saved and relocated over four months as St. Luke’s prepares to start the next phase of a redevelopment project that will modernize the Boise hospital and improve access and care.
St. Luke’s valued the input received from community preservationists and worked to find a local developer who could move and restore the buildings.
“We preserve with purpose,” said Logan Patten of Reclaimed Structures, the company that is working to try and take all of the available buildings instead of the original six that were planned.While none of the homes are on the National Register of Historic Places or meet the requirements to be added, six are considered to be “historically interesting.” Two will remain with St. Luke’s and will be relocated from the current sites to an empty lot near Avenue B and Bannock: the Bishop Foote Guest House on 2nd Street, and what is now the St. Luke’s Construction Office at the corner of Avenue B and Jefferson Street.
Reclaimed Structures stepped in to take not only the four remaining historically interesting homes, but opted to see if it could include almost all of the other buildings, as well. For now, the only buildings that are planned to be demolished include several old garages, the outdated Galloway commercial building, part of the building that houses the Family Medicine Residency of Idaho (FMRI) clinic, and the former St. Luke’s Employee Health building on 1st Street, which was torn down late in 2017.
The first building to get a new home is a white fourplex on State Street. Crews excavated around it, detached the house from the foundation, and inserted large support beams in order to lift the house and roll it onto a truck to be driven across town. The fourplex will go on the Boise Bench, off Manor Street near Boise State University.
Once in place, Patten says contractors will work to preserve the historic look and nature of the house. “We are taking these buildings back to their original intention,” he explained. “Our intent is to modernize the houses and preserve their historic value and charm.”
Reclaimed Structures is working closely with Preservation Idaho to find and secure the right locations for the remaining homes and aims to keep them all within Boise’s historic neighborhoods. Once the homes are relocated they’ll be restored and then will be listed for sale.
St. Luke’s Community Relations Director Theresa McLeod says the health system has worked with multiple organizations in addition to Preservation Idaho, including the Idaho Heritage Trust, Idaho State Historic Preservation Office, City of Boise Department of Arts and History, the City of Boise Historic Preservation Commission and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
“Through public hearings, preservation research and an architectural survey, St. Luke’s, along with all of those partners, found that while none of these homes were historically significant, they were considered ‘historically interesting,’ and we committed to preserving them,” said McLeod. “This collaborative preservation effort allowed us to identify a relocation strategy that will help honor the original intent of the homes, and what a surprise to be able to find new homes for not just the six homes we originally planned to save, but now 17 buildings.”
All of the structures will be removed one by one. In their place, St. Luke’s will construct a new northwest parking garage, shipping and receiving building, and Central Plant.The work is all part of St. Luke’s Master Plan for its Boise campus and is the result of years of extensive study, planning and collaboration with key stakeholders, including the City of Boise, the Ada County Highway District and area residents. The thorough process included dozens of workshops, open houses and neighborhood association meetings, which helped to shape and evolve the plan through thoughtful input, like with preserving these houses.
The multi-phased plan will occur in stages over the years to come. At its core is St. Luke’s commitment to create an environment in which it can provide the best possible care for patients and families, in an environment geared toward safety, healing and comfort.
Anita Kisseé is the Treasure Valley public relations manager for St. Luke’s Health System.