LEESBURG, VA. – The American Wood Council (AWC) is kicking off National Forest Products Week today with a video case study and virtual panel discussion to highlight the public-private partnership that drove the construction of the University of Idaho’s mass timber arena. The panel will be recorded and available later this week as an eCourse. The University received two Wood Innovation Grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that were used develop the proof of concept of the design, which officially opened to the public earlier this month.
The virtual discussion builds nicely off of the Biden Administration’s proclamation on National Forest Products Week, which specifically calls out support for, “opportunities that advance forest conservation and create jobs by expanding markets for innovative forest products through Federal programs such as the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service Wood Innovations and Community Wood grant programs.”
“I would encourage everyone to watch the video and to share it widely. It weaves in not only the wood products industry’s carbon story, but also highlights other unique attributes such as local and sustainable sourcing, job creation and pride of place and identity. The building is also an aesthetic masterpiece, and it is powerful to hear the reactions from those attending its recent grand opening, as well as the lead architect, who gets emotional describing the building’s impact. Other major building materials can’t come close to providing all of these elements, and this comes through in spades,” said President and CEO Jackson Morrill.
The House Agriculture Committee’s draft legislation recommendations for the reconciliation package proposed $1 billion to provide grants under the Wood Innovation grant program.
The unprecedented funding that is recommended to support the Wood Innovation Grant program is at a scale that can drive innovative mass timber construction and help to bring it mainstream.