POCATELLO — The future of the iconic “I” that exists at the top of Idaho State University’s Red Hill is currently in question due to safety concerns, and the trail leading up to it has been closed to the public.

    ISU officials have determined that the university symbol poses a serious safety risk. A committee comprised of Pocatellans, students, faculty and alumni has formed to come up with a list of possible recommendations.

    “As we review the issues identified in the three studies, our goal is to preserve the history of this university and to resolve any safety concerns,” said ISU President Arthur C. Vailas.

    The trail that is now cordoned-off is clearly marked with signs on both the north and south ends of the trail. The path will remain closed until all safety concerns have been resolved.    

    “The newly formed committee will review the information provided and advise President Vailas on how to proceed,” said Kent Tingey, ISU vice president for advancement. “We are acquiring the facts now, and we will be making recommendations on this historic and well-loved landmark that is dear to the entire community.”

   ISU will also engage the services of an independent, Idaho-registered professional engineer to further assess the safety concerns and review ISU’s internal reports in order to make a recommendation. They will determine whether the “I” can be repaired or if it should be replaced.

   Those associated with the ISU Facilities Department completed a study earlier this year after safety concerns were raised. That study has been reviewed by James Mahar with the ISU School of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the College of Science and Engineering. Mahar also concluded that because of erosion and soil instability, the “I” poses a potential risk for those who make the hike.