Land Board approves land exchange, acquires commercial building in Idaho Falls

(BOISE) – The Idaho State Board of Land Commissioners (Land Board) today unanimously approved a land exchange between the State of Idaho endowment trust and a private land owner in Bonneville County.

The endowment trust will exchange about 14 acres of property in McCall currently being used as the University of Idaho (UI) McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS) for a privately owned commercial building of equal value in Idaho Falls.

The exchange will enable the Land Board and the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) to perform on its constitutional duty to generate maximum long-term financial returns to the trust beneficiaries in two ways.

First, the exchange will instantly more than double cash returns to the beneficiaries of the property.  Secondly, the exchange builds the commercial land asset type within the overall endowment trust land portfolio, bringing diversity to a portfolio that is heavily comprised of two land asset types – rangeland and timberland.  Diversifying revenue sources strengthens the entire endowment trust land portfolio, making it more resilient to external forces that may impact one asset type.

In a separate transaction after the exchange is completed, the UI will work with the private land owner to bring the McCall property into UI ownership.  The MOSS campus has been used as an outdoor education facility since 1938, and the university and MOSS advocates for many years have indicated a desire for the university to acquire the property.

The UI endowment trust and the Normal Schools endowment trust (which benefits Lewis-Clark State College and the Idaho State University Department of Education) own the property. The UI and Normal Schools will receive hundreds of thousands of dollars more annually from the higher returns that the commercial building will generate.

The tenant of the Idaho Falls property is and would continue to be Battelle Energy Alliance, an operating contractor of the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) and collaborative partner with the UI, Boise State University, Idaho State University, and private industry.

The exchange shows the State’s support for the eastern Idaho community and the INL by committing to be a long-term landlord in the INL Research and Education campus in Idaho Falls.

Two Land Board members, Secretary of State Ben Ysursa and State Controller Brandon Woolf, recently held an open house in Idaho Falls to share information about the proposed land exchange with local officials and members of the public.