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You gave Boise schools $172.5 million for upgrades. Here's how the money is being spent.

Construction at Amity Elementary School
Construction at Amity Elementary School

It's a 10-year plan, but the Boise School District has already made a dent in its long list of renovations.

Construction is underway within the district on five of 22 planned capital bond projects, according to district spokesman Dan Hollar. Of the five underway, all are on budget and four are on time, Hollar said, with Boise High School's gym renovation and performance arts center addition running behind schedule due to the historical nature of the buildings.

An additional 23 smaller-scale deferred maintenance projects at 14 schools within the district are either finished or nearly finished as well.

The work is the result of a $172.5 million bond that was approved by voters in March 2017. The projects, known as the Educational Facility Master Plan, will be spread over a 10-year period. The estimated cost for the 22 big projects and smaller maintenance projects is more than $217 million, according to the district. The additional $45 million in funding will come from a plant facility supplemental levy and Idaho Lottery funds, Hollar said.

"A significant number of projects have been completed or are underway, with more to come," Hollar said.

The school district's Twitter account posted a series of tweets Tuesday documenting the progress of various projects.

What's almost done?

Major capital bond projects underway are:

  • A rebuild of Amity Elementary School; scheduled to be finished in time for the start of 2018-19 school year (Aug. 20).

  • A rebuild of Whittier Elementary School; scheduled to be finished in December.

  • An addition to Timberline High School; scheduled to be finished in time for the start of 2018-19 school year (Aug. 20).

  • An addition to the Dennis Technical Education Center; scheduled to be finished in time for the start of 2018-19 school year (Aug. 20).

  • Renovations to the Boise High gym and an addition to the Boise High performing arts center; gym scheduled to be finished in March 2019, performing arts center scheduled to be finished in January 2019.

The renovations at Boise High are expected to be finished three months later than expected, with completion likely coming in spring 2019, Hollar said.

In a recent email to parents, Boise High principal Robb Thompson said the delay was not entirely unexpected due to a desire to find "a balance ... between safe modernization and historic preservation."

"While we had hoped both would be open following the winter 2018 holiday break, we now expect the Performing Arts Center will not be ready until mid-January and the old gym available by early March," Thompson wrote.

The total estimated costs of the five capital projects underway is about $72 million, and Hollar said the projects are on budget.

The 23 smaller-scale projects include painting, plumbing and other small maintenance. They are being done or are completed at Adams, Hawthorne, Hillcrest, Jefferson, Koelsch, Taft, White Pine, Cynthia Mann, Riverside and Horizon elementary schools, North Junior High School, and Boise, Capital and Frank Church high schools, Hollar said.

What's planned?

The next four major capital bond projects within the district are under review or are undergoing the bid process, according to Hollar. The projects are:

  • Gym and deferred maintenance at Maple Grove Elementary.

  • Gym and deferred maintenance at Taft Elementary.

  • A new gym, a new cafeteria, new classrooms and maintenance at Hillside Junior High.

  • A new gym, a new cafeteria, new classrooms and maintenance at Fairmont Junior High.

Hollar said an increase in construction in the general Boise area is leading to higher pricing for supplies and labor for the upcoming four projects. These projects were initially projected to cost $18.7 million.

Higher construction costs are not a problem unique to Idaho.

In a release from the Associated General Contractors of America, Chief Economist Ken Simonson said increases in costs across the nation are partly due to tariffs.

"Prices jumped at double-digit annual rates for metals, lumber and plywood, and diesel fuel, while ready-mixed concrete, asphalt paving and roofing materials also had unusually large increases," Simonson said in the release. "The cost of all goods used in construction rose 8.8 percent from May 2017 to May 2018, the steepest annual increase in nearly seven years."

What's next?

There are 13 major capital bond projects remaining to be finished in the 10-year plan. Hollar said a timeline for the next phases is still being created. The projects are:

  • The construction of Harris Ranch Elementary.

  • A rebuild of Mountain View Elementary's main building.

  • A rebuild of Pierce Park Elementary.

  • A remodel at Collister Elementary.

  • A remodel of Washington Elementary.

  • A rebuild at Highlands Elementary, as well as new music and P.E. spaces.

  • A rebuild at Valley View Elementary, as well as new music and P.E. spaces.

  • A new cafeteria, P.E. building and music classroom at Longfellow Elementary.

  • An upgrade to the gym, cafeteria and auditorium at Roosevelt Elementary.

  • An upgrade to the gym, cafeteria and auditorium at Jefferson Elementary.

  • An upgrade to the gym, cafeteria and auditorium at Hillcrest Elementary.

  • An upgrade to the gym, cafeteria and auditorium at Hawthorne Elementary.

  • An upgrade to the gym, cafeteria and auditorium at Koelsch Elementary.



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