The Salvation Army’s “Building Futures” campaign recently launched with the goal of raising $11 million for an expanded campus in West Boise near the West City Hall Annex.
The new facility will include a larger school for pregnant and parenting teens now attending school at the Salvation Army’s Marian Pritchett School, also known as the Booth Home, in Boise’s North End. The Salvation Army will sell the Booth Home complex, which fills an entire city block on N. 24th Street, to help pay for the new project.
Hillary Betz, campaign director for the Salvation Army, said the property will go on the market some time during the summer.
The Salvation Army already has sold an office building at 19th and Bannock Streets to help support the West campus project. Betz said the sales of the Booth Home as well as the 19th Street property should raise around $2.5 million. All proceeds will go to the new building project.
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The Salvation Army opened the Booth Home in its original brick building in 1921 as a small “lying-in” or maternity hospital for unwed mothers. The Salvation Army has partnered with the Boise School District to provide classes for pregnant and parenting teens since the 1960s. The complex, which includes several newer buildings, has outlived its purpose, said Betz.
The new West campus will triple enrollment capacity for the school and include a student childcare center and two new preschool education classrooms.
The Booth Home is in the North End Historic District. The property is zoned residential, but its current use as a school is grandfathered. Any development or redevelopment plan following a purchase would go before the city’s Historic Preservation Commission for review, said Matt Halitsky, city historic preservation planner.
The original brick building, the oldest structure on the site, is eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places because of its age, but is not currently on that list. Inclusion is not a protection against demolition.
The building is not designated as a “local landmark,” a program the city of Boise began some years ago to highlight historic buildings and provide a six-month demolition delay when buildings are threatened. The “facade easement” program, through which a property owner donates the facade of a building to the city which then has to agree to proposed changes or demolition, can also offer some protections. The Booth Home is not part of the program, said Halitsky.
“Our hope would be that any redevelopment plan would preserve the historic brick building,” he said.
Amy Pence-Brown with Preservation Idaho said she hopes anyone who buys the property would recognize the historic value of the brick former maternity hospital and its significance to the area.
“It is a neighborhood landmark,” she said, noting the significance of the Salvation Army’s long partnership with the Boise School District and the generous amount of open green space at the site..
The brick building, which echo some of the old buildings at St. Luke’s in Downtown Boise, is an amalgam of architectural features, including a tile roof and Gothic-inspired entrance.
More about the new West campus
The new, expanded school will be just one part of the West campus. The complex will also offer multiple programs for children, including a gym and summer food programs as well as education, recreation, arts, social and spiritual programs for clients of all ages. The location of the new campus, which will eventually house all of Salvation Army’s offices, is strategic, said Betz. Most of the clients using Salvation Army’s services live in the west part of the Valley.
The campaign is off to a good start with $4 million already in the coffers thanks to pledges and donations. The Kissler Family Foundation and the J.A. Kathryn Albertson Foundation have made gifts of $1 million each to the campaign.
The campaign will continue through the end of 2016. This is the Salvation Army’s first capital campaign in 50 years.
To donate to the campaign or learn more about supporting the project, call Hillary Betz, campaign director, at 208-383-4321.