Education

Meridian school will finally trade its portable buildings for brick-and-mortar walls

Pathways Middle School’s new building is expected to be open in fall, after the school year begins.
Pathways Middle School’s new building is expected to be open in fall, after the school year begins. Provided by West Ada School District

Ten years ago, the West Ada School District cobbled Pathways Middle School together entirely out of portable buildings.

Now, preliminary construction has begun to replace that amalgam with a brick and mortar school adjacent to the old campus.

Construction cost is $6.3 million, up from an earlier estimate of $5 million.

Money will come from the school district’s plant facilities fund, which levies up to $20 million a year on taxpayers for building improvements.

Pathways, located at 1855 E. Heritage Park Lane in Meridian, is expected to be completed in early fall after the school year begins.

Pathways is an alternative school where students who struggle academically can choose to attend. The school has endured small classrooms, doors where wind blows into the classrooms, and no gym or cafeteria. Some students get teased that they attend a “trailer park school.”

In 2015, the West Ada School Board got behind a plan to rebuild the school.

Mike Vuittonet, a school board member who was on the board when Pathways was originally envisioned, said the district put its money elsewhere: Meridian High School’s expansion — a way to get more high school seats without having to build a whole new high school — and construction of Renaissance High School at the district service center on East Central Drive.

The school wasn't a “three-alarm fire,” Vuittonet said in January. The school was doing a good job and running well.

West Ada’s new Pathways is expected to have regular-sized classrooms, instead of the one-third size that some teachers have.

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