Student safety, historic preservation, energy savings and preservation of open space are among the reasons a group of appellants wants to send the Boise School District back to the drawing board on its design for Whittier Elementary School.
The Boise Planning and Zoning Commission approved a permit for the rebuild of Whittier at its April 10 meeting. Commissioner Jennifer Stevens was the only member of the panel who opposed the approval. Stevens said she was concerned about the lack of detail in the school district’s plan and the potential loss of big swaths of open space on the site.
The people appealing the commission’s approval echo those concerns. They also worry that the proposed placement of parking would create too many conflict points between people on foot and cars moving through the parking areas.
For years, the district has eyed replacement of Whittier, which is crowded and old. But it is not on the district’s list of the first four schools to be upgraded with money from a $172.5 million bond that passed overwhelmingly in March.
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The appellants also want the district to preserve mature trees on the school site, a 6.58-acre lot located between Whitewater Park Boulevard and Jefferson, 29th and Idaho streets. Other concerns include a lack of specifics for maintaining historic buildings on the site.
A memorandum introducing the appeal criticized the district for not adhering to a more robust energy efficiency guidelines.
“It is hard to understand why the school district is reluctant to invest in life-cycle cost savings that will save taxpayers money,” the memorandum reads. “We should be building 100 year buildings like the city used to do.”
The Boise City Council is scheduled to hold a public hearing June 6 on the Whittier appeal, city planner Cody Riddle said.