Boise School District building plan finds support

Support for replacing old schools

A Boise mother says better school buildings are needed
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A Boise mother says better school buildings are needed

Boise School District’s ambitious plan to replace and upgrade aging school buildings found favor Monday with many in an audience that included taxpayers and parents.

Trustees will look at a possible $217 million plan that could include both bonds and an existing maintenance levy to cover the cost. Trustees will make their final decision in November.

District officials reviewed the plan in a public meeting at Capital High School where 80 people attended.

“There is more to do than just the $217 million.” said Chad Slichter, a Boise architect. He agrees with the district proposal to replace six elementary schools and add a new one in the growing Harris Ranch area. Many of the schools in the district were constructed in the 1950s and 1960s, he said, and are at the end of their lifespan.

Carrie Hastriter, who left teaching in the district 16 years ago, supports the district plan. She taught social studies at aging Hillside Junior High, then moved to Riverglen Junior High when it opened.

“I saw the disparity between an aging school and a brand new school,” said Hastriter, who has an an eighth and 10th grader in the district. “I got to experience first hand the sheer excitement and pride in a new school.”

Boise School District has spent nearly two years studying the conditions of its 52 buildings. It conducted a similar study in 2006 that resulted in a $96 million bond to replace several schools

A bond for the newest round of proposed school construction could come as early as March.

Among the schools district officials say need attention are:

▪  Amity Elementary in Southwest Boise. The school has a sod roof with chronic, nearly impossible-to-fix leaks.

▪  Whittier Elementary in Boise’s West End, which is already overcrowded and expects even more students as the area is revitalized through amenities such as Esther Simplot Park and the possible location of a new College of Western Idaho Boise campus nearby.

▪  Timberline High School, which needs an expansion to accommodate a growing number of students from Southeast Boise and South Boise if a 2,000 home subdivision south of Interstate 84 takes off.