Boise's Cole school site finally up for sale

Rebounding property values prompt the school district to seek bids for the parcel.

broberts@idahostatesman.comAugust 17, 2013 

Proceeds from selling the eight acres at Cole Road and Fairview Avenue would go toward upgrades at Borah and Capital high schools that were part of a district school-building improvement program approved by voters in 2006.

Prospective buyers can submit sealed bids over two months beginning Sept. 1.

After bids are opened, the district will order an appraisal on the land. If any bids meet the appraisal, district officials will proceed with the sale, said Michael Ballantyne, managing partner with Thornton Oliver Keller, a commercial real estate agency assisting the district in the sale.

Cole Elementary's last classes were held in 2008-09. The building was demolished in fall 2009 to make the property more marketable. Cole Elementary was first built in 1888 and replaced in 1902. Until it was razed, it was the district's oldest school building.

Selling the property was put on hold as the real estate market collapsed during the recession.

Now land values are rising. In the area around the Cole site, values have reached pre-recession levels, Ballantyne said.

No assessed value for the district-owned site is listed at the Ada County assessor's office.

The property is best suited for commercial development, officials say. Uses might include office space for doctors or lawyers. Parts of the property also may be suited for medium- or high-density residential housing or, possibly, a senior citizen housing project, Ballantyne said.

Sale of the Cole property is the last piece of a wide-ranging project Boise School District undertook nearly eight years ago to upgrade aging school buildings and replace some schools with new ones.

Voters approved a $94 million bond to launch improvements and the district said it would take proceeds from the sales of the old West Junior High on Curtis Road near Saint Alphonsus Medical Center, Mountain Cove High School and the Cole property to complete the project.

The district sold the West property in 2008 to the commercial development firm Hawkins Companies. Mountain Cove High School near the Veterans Medical Center was purchased by the Veterans Administration in 2009.

Here are some ways money raised by the Cole sale would be used:

Capital High: Refurbish auditorium seats; install fire sprinklers in classrooms; upgrade boys' and girls' locker rooms; upgrade heating, ventilation and air conditioning in second floor classroom.

Borah High: Improve flooring; upgrade heating and air conditioning in the cafeteria and gym; put a new roof on the school; upgrade lighting in corridors.

If Cole doesn't sell, the district would continue school improvements, but at a slower pace.

Bill Roberts: 377-6408, Twitter: @IDS_BillRoberts

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