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Cruzen-Murray Library opens to students to kick-off spring semester

January 31, 2018
Students walk out of Cruzen-Murray Library on its opening day, Jan. 31, 2018.

College of Idaho senior psychology major Sage Vincent once practiced rugby in the field next to Hayman Hall as a freshman. That same field is now home to the Cruzen-Murray Library, the College’s newest 58,620 square-foot addition to the campus.

Vincent was among the first students to enter the library after its official opening on Jan. 31, the first day of the College’s 2018 Spring Term. He walked up the stairs to the top floor of the new building, taking a seat at one of the many tables around the bookshelves and gazing beyond his laptop to the view of campus through the wide, all-encompassing windows surrounding the library itself.

“I’ve never seen so much glass in my life,” Vincent said.

Named after Debbie Cruzen-Murray and her husband Richard Murray, Jr., whose estate gift made the construction of the building possible, the new library began construction in February 2016, opening nearly two years to the day of groundbreaking. Designed as a comfortable and versatile study space, complete with natural lighting from the windows, classrooms with 86-inch touch screens and a 24-hour computer lab on the plaza floor, the library is set to become one of the most used buildings on campus for students.

For students like Vincent, the opening of the library is a long time coming, having watched the space grow from its groundbreaking to its grand opening.

“I’m a senior, so I know I need to take as much advantage as I can while I’m still here,” Vincent said. “I love how open this is compared to the old library. This feels really state-of-the-art and really comfortable. I think I’ll be studying here all the time.”

The technology capabilities of the new library is also a high point for junior theatre major Tristan Beauchaine, who had attended class in one of the new classrooms on Wednesday morning. He commented on the wide range of possibilities the classrooms’ touch screens could offer for a number of classes. He said the technology in combination with the library’s tall ceilings, natural lighting and relaxed layout gave the library an identity unlike anything else on campus.

“I’m astounded I’m on the same campus,” Beauchaine said. “The lighting, the colors, the open spaces, it’s all really beautiful. This is a place I know will help me think.”

While the older students remember the long construction process, newer students are coming into the new building without as much experience at the old N.L. Terteling Library next door. Freshman Laura Skelton had little experience in Terteling, but said she was inspired by the design of Cruzen-Murray, praising it for its uniqueness.

“It’s absolutely beautiful in here,” Skelton said. “With all this space and all these windows, I don’t feel trapped or stifled. I’m really lucky I’ll be able to use this library for as long as I’m a student here.”

User service librarian Lance McGrath, who helped supervise the transfer of books from the Terteling Library to Cruzen-Murray, said it was an amazing and affirming feeling to see the reaction of students and faculty as they walked into the new space.

“It’s been fun seeing everyone come inside and get used to what the new library is like,” McGrath said. “It’s definitely a more spacious building, and very purposeful. It provides a very different academic environment that I think adds a lot to the College.”

The library will hold a special event for alumni at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 15 to help move the remaining books from the Terteling Library to the Cruzen-Murray Library bucket-brigade style, lining up the alumni as they pass books individually in the same way books traveled from Strahorn Hall to Terteling in the 1960s.

The College of Idaho has a 125-year-old legacy of excellence. The C of I is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, four NFL players and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom.  For more information, visit