In 2000, the Jacob Spori Building, the oldest building on campus, burned down. Because the building was being deconstructed at the time, much of the original pioneer-crafted stone was preserved.
Derek Toone, a senior studying business marketing, and 15 Integrated Business Core teammates have worked to bring these stones to students as a commemoration of the 125th anniversary of Ricks College.
While serving as the student alumni director, Toone said every time he walked in the office he would see a stone from the original Jacob Spori building. He said he had the idea to sell them to alumni.
“The Jacob Spori story is just so unique to campus,” Toone said. “It’s the first thing you hear about when you come in at Get Connected, and they talk about the seeds we are planting, and so Jacob Spori was just kind of a main focus.”
Toone said his group was able to get old scraps from the original Spori Building through campus grounds. It then sent the stones to Idaho Falls, where they were cut, sandblasted, and engraved with either the BYU-Idaho or Ricks College logo.
Lee Warnick, a professor in the Communication Department, said he was here to see the Spori Building burn down and get rebuilt.
“They just didn’t have a lot of stone available to them,” Warnick said. “They quarried this within ten miles of the town.”
Warnick said during the 2000 renovation, workers began taking the Spori Building down during the night. He said two cables were attached to the building in order to bring it down.
Warnick said the weather was extremely dry and the two cables rubbed together, creating friction. A fire was kindled, and the building was engulfed within five or ten minutes.
“We come to school the next morning and there’s just a smoldering pile of ashes,” Warnick said. “They ended saving the college a bunch of money by not having to haul away dump truck loads of material.”
Bonnie McDonald, a former editor of Scroll who was a student at the time of the fire, said she was awakened by a knock on her door at 4 a.m. during the fire.
“It seemed important to go to see the Spori’s last hurrah,” McDonald said.
In 1890, Principal Jacob Spori saved Rick’s College by paying a $177 debt. He also worked on the railroad to pay the salary of faculty.
The original Jacob Spori building was one of the first on campus. It was rebuilt in 2003.
“Over the decades of its existence, the original Spori Building was the heart of this campus and the icon of the institution,” said David A. Bednar, former president of BYU-I, during the dedication of the new Spori building.
Toone said he hopes everyone will celebrate the 125 years of Ricks/BYU-I with the stone. Toone and his team can be found in front of the University Bookstore from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday through the end of March.