New Boise grade school gets name, faster timeline, three-story design


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The Boise School District announced it would open the new grade school in Boise’s Barber Valley sooner than expected. It also announced a name for the school, as well as revealed design details.

“We’ve been able to move the opening of that school forward to the fall of 2023, which we are excited about,” Boise Schools Area Director Brian Walker said. “I know community members are anxiously awaiting that school to open.”

The date is one year earlier than the district previously planned.

The school will take the name of Dallas Harris Elementary.  Harris was a large landowner and rancher in the area, and his descendants have developed the Harris Ranch subdivisions.  Harris died in 1999.

The Harris family donated a total of three acres for the school site.  As part of the deal, the family stipulated the school be named for a member of their family.

[Boise Schools auctions property near Murgoitio site; Developer hopes to build ‘wellness-focused housing]

“We had an MOU with the Harris family and the Harris partnership where one of the things that was agreed upon was to name the school after a family member,” Walker said. “That family member is Dallas Harris.”

The Boise School Board approved the name Monday night.

Dallas Harris Elementary would accommodate as many as 500 students in grades kindergarten through sixth grade. The district will go through a process to draw new boundary lines for the school. Students in the Barber Valley area currently attend Riverside Elementary.  The process will wrap up in spring 2022, according to Walker.

Walker said details like a school mascot and school colors would come later once a principal is in place for the school. 

[Harris Ranch family seeking to trade Barber Valley land for SW Boise’s Murgoitio park site]

Safety concerns

The school originally sat on a smaller site, and students would have crossed a public street to a village green area for school activities.  But safety concerns prompted a change of course.

“There were too many safety concerns,” Walker said. “The Harris family graciously donated an additional .7 acres, which allowed us to put the school all on one site.”

The additional land will allow for a small playfield adjacent to the school, protected by security fencing. Buses and parents will load and unload on adjacent streets.  Parking for the school will be in a nearby parking garage.

[The future of Boise’s Harris Ranch: park, school, apartments and maybe that elusive restaurant]

Three-story school

Dallas Harris School
Site plan showing the school’s first floor. Via CSHQA

The school will be unique in Boise, stretching to a total of three stories.

“As you can see, we have a three-story building. The urban nature of this site, and we really wanted to maintain space for student play, led to a three-story option,” project architect Ariel Mieling said. “ It also is a nice solution because it allows the second and third stories to be dedicated to student learning, with more of the public facilities on the first floor. “

The first floor will include a gym, a media center (library), and admin offices, with classrooms for kindergarten and special education.  The rest of the classrooms will sit on the second and third floors.

The third floor will also include an outdoor deck that could be used as a learning space.

“It allows everyone who is engaged in the school to be engaged and outside with fresh air during their school day,” project architect Kelly Mabry said.

You can view the full video presentation here.

Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don is the founder and publisher of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow. Contact him at [email protected].

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