Boise & Garden City

Neighbors sought to save Boise’s historic Booth Home. This is what’s happening to it.

A look inside the Marian Pritchett School

Social worker and program coordinator Lindsay Klein offers a quick tour of the Marian Pritchett School for pregnant and parenting teens. The school, formerly a maternity hospital for unwed mothers, will get a new home in West Boise. The fate of th
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Social worker and program coordinator Lindsay Klein offers a quick tour of the Marian Pritchett School for pregnant and parenting teens. The school, formerly a maternity hospital for unwed mothers, will get a new home in West Boise. The fate of th

A historic city block in Boise’s North End could soon be turned into a small subdivision.

Rodney Evans + Partners, a Boise landscape architecture firm, filed plans with the city’s Planning and Development Services Department for a nine-lot subdivision at 1617 N. 24th St. That is the site of the Booth Home and the Marian Pritchett School, which serves teenagers who are pregnant or parenting.

The land is owned by Westminster II, a Boise company founded by George Cooper that seeks to develop the property.

The subdivision would have eight single-family homes and five condominiums.

The developers plan to retain the Booth Home, built in 1921, by renovating the interior to turn it into three of the five condos. The exterior will remain the same with the exception of minor restoration and new windows. The news was first reported by Boise Dev.

A chapel on the property would also stay. It would be converted to the other two condos.

The Salvation Army used to own the property. The Marian Pritchett School is operated by the Salvation Army and the Boise School District. The Salvation Army is raising funds to develop the school’s new site on Emerald Street between Mitchell Street and Maple Grove Road in West Boise.

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Mark Baltes, president of the North End Neighborhood Association, said the people who lived near the project overwhelmingly support the development, in no small part because the developers took into consideration their concerns.

The neighborhood held what Baltes called a “visioning workshop” when it found out that the Salvation Army was considering selling the block. Neighbors wanted the developers to preserve the Booth Home and large trees on the property.

Exception for some trees that need to be removed, Baltes said, almost everything neighbors said they valued most was included in the plan.

“From our perspective, (the developer) took the information we gave them and came up with a development that fits the neighborhood,” Baltes said.

He also appreciates that the development includes plans for up to three accessory dwelling units, the legal name for small apartments or cottages on the property of a single-family home because such units could help with housing affordability in the area.

“It looks pretty good,” Baltes said.

Ben Semple, a partner in Rodney Evans + Partners and the senior landscape architect leading the project, said in a phone interview Friday that he loves the North End. The project is “great to be a part of,” he said.

Semple said he wants to replicate the current style of other houses in the neighborhood to “create an awesome block,” and he said he feels the new homes will enhance the neighborhood.

The red brick Booth Home is described in a National Trust for Historic Preservation blog post as a building that “combines elements of Colonial Revival and Spanish Colonial Revival styles.” The chapel has been described as an angular midcentury-modern building.

“Some parts of the design pay homage to the historic nature of the site, the historic users and uses,” Semple said. “It’s important to maintain that so people can still learn about it. It’s an important part of our community.”

The school will begin next school year at its current location and plans to move midyear.

Boise’s Historic Preservation Commission will consider Westminster II’s application at 6 p.m. Monday, May 20, at City Hall.

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Hayley covers local government for the Idaho Statesman with a primary focus on Boise. Previously, she worked for the Salisbury Daily Times, the Hartford Courant, the Denver Post and McClatchy’s D.C. bureau. Hayley graduated from Ohio University with degrees in journalism and political science.If you like seeing stories like this, please consider supporting our work with a digital subscription to the Idaho Statesman.
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