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'I' on Red Hill in jeopardy

University working on plan to preserve icon

Idaho State "I" may be removed if necessary

POCATELLO, Idaho - The big question: Will the "I" on Red Hill be removed? The answer: a big unknown.

Phil Moessner, asssociate vice president of facility services, said the university wants to save it, but there are problems that may not be able to be fixed.

"It obviously could use some work," Moessner said over the phone on Thursday. "It's dated, and there's obviously some erosion around it."

In fact, Moessner said over half the ground behind it is eroded away from the wind, rain and years it's been on the hill.

Additionally, the "I" itself is in structural peril. It's made of concrete that has slowly been crumbling away as the support behind has diminished. Moessner says they want to do everything they can to save the "I".

"It was clear to us, especially my staff members who have been with the team for a long time, that the 'I' is an important icon for the university and for the whole community as a whole," Moessner said.

Moessner said they may be able to save the "I", even if it means moving it to another location.

"So from our perspective right now it's a case of trying to make sure nobody gets hurt as the result of a catastrophic failure of either the hillside or of the "I".

Moessner said they are working as fast as they can to find the best solution and open the trails up. He said there is no set timeframe on when they will be able to get the work completed, but they have received emergency money from the university and authority to contract through the department of public works.

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