The Boise School District is working on a variety of projects springing from the $172 million bond approved in 2017.
Several projects are complete, some are underway, and several are still to come. The district’s leadership team provided an update to Boise City Council Tuesday.
Complete or wrapping up
A replacement building for Amity, a former underground school in SW Boise, opened at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year. Crews are now wrapping up landscaping of the former school site for student use – as well as completing a student drop-off area. This will wrap up in time for the start of this year’s school year.
Boise High School
This project brought a new gymnasium and performing arts center to the campus in Boise’s North End.
“This is the project that we thought would never end – and it has ended,” Boise Schools’ deputy superintendent Lisa Roberts said. “If you have had a chance to see this building, it is absolutely beautiful. The restoration turned out very nicely.”
The new facility is now open.
Fairmont Junior High School
The school on the Boise Bench has a new gym and cafeteria building. The building is placed in a location that has raised questions from community members.
“I think some people will look at this placement and think it’s a little odd, but it’s done thinking about the future,” Robert said.
The idea is that Fairmont could be torn down and rebuilt of school officials decide to ask voters for more money in the form of a future bond.
“If we would like to rebuild Fairmont, we can add the school to this building,” she said.
The project is wrapping up and site work is being completed.
The current kitchen and cafeteria area is being remodeled. Four new classrooms will be added, eliminating the need for portable classroom buildings on the site.
Hillside Junior High
Construction workers constructed a new gym and cafeteria on this site as well, with opening day set for this fall. Like Fairmont, the new Hillside gym could attach to a future new school building in the future. The existing cafeteria and kitchen will be remodeled into four classroom spaces.
Taft Elementary School
The district wants to eliminate mash-up rooms that serve multiple purposes.
“I’m sure you are aware that many of our elementary schools have what we call cafegymatoriums – where it’s the cafeteria, it’s the gymnasium and it’s the auditorium in one,” Roberts said. “It’s the multi-multi-purpose room.”
William Howard Taft Elementary off State Street is the first of those projects – it is done and will open in time for the school year. Workers are wrapping up playground upgrades.
Maple Grove Elementary
Maple Grove in West Boise also gets a new gym and classrooms. This project wrapped up and will be open for the new school year.
This school near Downtown Boise saw a total replacement on site. The new school opened up in the middle of the school year. The district is converting the old building for use as a community center, in conjunction with Boise Parks and Recreation.
“(The new school) has a larger gym than most schools,” Roberts said. “We hope to work with Boise Parks and Recreation & the YMCA on projects.”
Projects in progress
Hawthorne, on the Boise Bench near Vista Ave. is another school getting a new cafeteria and kitchen for students. The project will not be done in time for school to start, but should be completed in the fall. The existing kitchen will get new life as a music room.
Like Hawthorne, this school will get a new cafeteria and kitchen. The old kitchen will also become a music room.
Mtn. View Elementary
Work crews will fully rebuild this school on the Boise Bench, with completion slated for next year. The existing school will remain open, right next door to the construction site.
“We have it very well secured so students can still play on the grounds but stay clear of the construction site,” Boise Schools’ area director Teri Thaemert said.
Pierce Park Elementary
Pierce Park in NW Boise will be rebuilt during the school year, much like Mtn. View. District officials aim to have it done for the start of the 2020/2021 school year.
Highlands, at the base of the Boise foothills, will hold classes at the Ft. Boise site near St. Luke’s this year. Crews will demolish the existing school building and build a new school in its place.
“The community up there is very excited to follow the progress, and we’ll keep them engaged through the process. It’s been good,” Boise Schools’ Debbie Donovan said.
Projects still to come
This project will start during the 2020/2021 school year, and add a new addition to the back of the building. The existing 1911 building will see a thorough rebuild – which will mean students will move to Ft. Boise next year.
Design work is underway, and public feedback is expected this fall. The aim of the project is to remove portables on-site and boost accessibility – as well as increasing safety and security.
Valley View Elementary
Valley View will get a new school building, built behind the existing facility. Work will start in 2020 and should be done in time for the 2021-2022 school year.
A new free-standing kitchen and cafeteria will pop up on the campus of the current school on Latah St. on the Boise Bench. The building is slated to go behind the school – and will eliminate a situation where food delivery trucks must drive across the playground area to reach the kitchen.
The Tigers of Hillcrest on the Boise Bench will soon have a new kitchen and cafeteria building, too. It will sit on the SW corner of the school site, away from the main building.
“This is going to open up some space in the current kitchen. In the current kitchen spot will be some community space and the music room will be relocated,” Boise Schools area director Becca Anderson said.
The freestanding buildings at Hillcrest, Jefferson and elsewhere could serve neighborhood and community programs.
New Harris Ranch school
This project is “still a ways down the road,” Anderson said. As BoiseDev first reported, the school will not have its own outdoor space, but will share it with the Harris Ranch Village Green, across a street.
“(Harris Ranch developers are) still working on infrastructure,” Anderson said. She said that must happen before “we even get to talk about a timeline, because the timeline for the infrastructure comes first.”
Parents have been clamoring for the new school, but Roberts said the ball is in the court of the developer.
“There are some patrons out there that are frustrated we haven’t started, but infrastructure from the developer has to come first before we can do that,” Roberts said. “To be honest, we are accommodating those students at Riverside and at Adams.”
Rosevelt, Collister, Longfellow
Projects at these schools have not yet started but are part of the bond and will happen in coming years, according to Roberts.