Education

‘Everything is up to date’ in new Notus Elementary School

Notus Elementary School’s new 33,000-square-foot building will replace a 90-year-old structure on the left.
Notus Elementary School’s new 33,000-square-foot building will replace a 90-year-old structure on the left. Provided by Notus School District

Teachers and staff will start moving into Notus School District’s new elementary school Dec. 4, three weeks ahead of schedule, as they prepare to leave behind a 90-year-old building that educated students ever since Calvin Coolidge was president.

Construction cost is coming in slightly under the $3.5 million budgeted, said Craig Woods, district superintendent.

Two hundred students in kindergarten through sixth grade will start classes in the new building, located just steps from the old structure, on Jan. 9.

Notus, 34 miles west of Boise, has 400 students in its elementary and junior-senior high schools.

Notus District trustees tried twice to pass a bond for construction of a new school before finally succeeding in May 2015, with a $4.8 million bond that included other projects such as tearing down much of the old school. The district was finally successful when it told taxpayers that if they approve an increase of about $19 per $100,000 of taxable value on their property for the new school, the district would hold the line of maintenance expenditures to insure that the tax rate increase would not creep over $20 per $100,000, Woods said..

Students and teachers will leave a building that has sewage problems, small classrooms, an overtaxed electrical system and insufficient wifi.

The new building, which will hld up to 300 students, has 940-square-foot classrooms, up from 600 square feet, a larger media center and library, air conditioning and other improvements.

“Everything is up to date,” Woods said. “It’s pretty amazing what we got out of the money we had.”

Much of the old elementary school will be torn down, but the gym will be saved. It houses an after school program for Notus students, and the district is working toward making the building available for community use.

A ribbon cutting and tours of both the new and old schools are planned for 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 13 at 25257 Notus Road.

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