After discussing future plans for Boise’s Highlands Elementary for more than a year, the Boise School District decided to tear down the 1961 campus and start from scratch.
Several criteria were evaluated before making the call to tear down the old campus nestled in north Boise, including educational impact and safety and budgetary constraints.
Dan Hollar, the public affairs administrator for the district, says results of a survey conducted in the school’s neighborhood were also considered.
“More than 600 community members showed overwhelming support – 68 percent – from Highlands parents, staff and neighbors for a new school,” says Hollar. “Eighty-two percent of Highlands parents support a new school. Certainly those spoke loudly to us.”
While the decision to rebuild the school might align with the majority of those surveyed, members of the preservation community who advocated remodeling the mid-century campus say they’re disappointed.
“From what we understand, the design of the new school will be reflective of the Highlands neighborhood, but, in this case, it will be a copy of what they have an original of already,” says Paula Benson, the board president of Preservation Idaho. “We appreciate that the school district has worked well with us in terms of communication. We’re learning as we go, and we think the school district is as well.”
With the decision to build a new school made, the project is now entering the design phase, which is expected to conclude in August. The new Highlands Elementary should be open to students in fall of 2020.
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