The school year is just around the corner. In the Boise School District, 22 major renovation and construction projects are scheduled. A $172.5 million bond passed by the voters in March means every school in the district is seeing some kind of improvement.
A nearly $18 million renovation of the historic Boise High School gymnasium is already well underway.
“There's been quite a bit going on here already with tearing things out in a safe matter and making sure we get everything abated,” Boise High Principal Robb Thompson said.
The gym was built back in 1936 and has fallen into disrepair over the years. The basketball court no longer meets size requirements and the building doesn’t meet the standards of the American Disabilities Act.
“We couldn't use it for competition, certainly. We were very limited with that, we could do some wrestling matches in there, but other than that not much in terms of competition,” Thompson said.
The remodel will convert the gym back to a competition space, which will hold nearly 2,000 people.
Connected to the gym, the new Performing Arts Center, housing a micro theatre, music classrooms, a weight room and athletic storage.
“It's going to be an amazing opportunity once it's all completed,” Thompson said.
Construction isn’t expected to be complete until next school year, which Thompson says has created some challenges, so they’re maximizing the space they do have.
“There is not a piece of floor or room or space in these two buildings that are not being occupied this year for learning and we're using spaces differently than we've ever used them before,” Thompson said.
For now, and for safety, it’s a fence and new walkways paving the way for a brighter future for Boise High.
“One school year where we utilize patterns and facilities differently then we have before is a pretty small price to pay for what comes next,” Thompson said.
NEW AMITY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Construction is also underway at what will be the new Amity Elementary School. A school that was once featured in TIME Magazine and touted revolutionary for its time now sees groundhogs burrowing into the roof and leaks.
The nearly $14 million facility is being built right next door to the current elementary school.
“Next summer we should be moving in, so we're excited,” Amity Elementary School Principal Valeria Uhlorn said.
Until then, Uhlorn says they’ve had to get creative, especially since the school has lost almost all of its field area.
“On the backside we do have some field area that can be utilized. The kids have just never utilized it before, so that will be a new offering for them this year,” Uhlorn said.
Although, the elementary school itself isn’t largely impacted. The playground, which backs right up to the construction site, is a different story. Crews have put up a fence to help keep kids out of that area.
“We will be outside walking the playground area and designating areas of supervision. One of which will be the fence line,” Uhlorn said.
Principal Uhlorn will also be educating the hundreds of students in the school about what’s happening next door.
“On the first day of school, I will be meeting every grade level out on the playground. We'll be walking through everything. We'll be talking about safety expectations, respecting the construction area,” Uhlorn said.
A list of all Boise School District construction projects can be found here.