MERIDIAN -- Workers are busy building a new Catholic school in Meridian that will serve up to 470 students.
Construction on the St. Ignatius Catholic School, located across the parking lot from Holy Apostles at the corner of Chinden Boulevard and Meridian Road, started at the end of June.
"This is the first Catholic school in 50 years in the Treasure Valley," said Karen Mahoney, chairwoman of the St. Ignatius School Committee.
Parishioners and community members have raised $9.8 million to build the private school.
"We're the largest parish in the history of the state of Idaho and parents have been wanting a school here for years," said Fr. Len MacMillan. "We're incredibly excited that now we're breaking ground on this."
Principal Andi Kane says there's been a resurgence in enrollment at Catholic schools across the Treasure Valley in recent years.
At St. Ignatius, there will be a focus on innovative learning.
"Many of the classrooms have shared flex learning spaces where the classrooms actually open up into a larger area so we can do lot of collaborative learning, ability based grouping," she added.
Graduates of the pre-K through 8th-grade school will most likely funnel into Bishop Kelly High School, the only Catholic high school in the state of Idaho.
BK President Rich Raimondi told KTVB Tuesday that the school is preparing for more students. That plan includes building more classrooms to accommodate them.
Raimondi says growth across the Treasure Valley and an increase in enrollment at the five current partner Catholic schools that feed into Bishop Kelly have led to increased enrollment at the private high school.
This school year, more than 800 students are enrolled at BK and that number could increase to 1,000 in the next three years, he said.
Anticipation is high for St. Ignatius because there isn't a Catholic school in west Ada County and Meridian's population continues to climb.
Holy Apostles parish families will get priority once registration starts for St. Ignatius.
"Anyone is welcome at St. Ignatius," Kane said. "We do not have any limitations on who can attend."
Principal Kane says yearly tuition for registered Holy Apostles parishioners will be $4,000. It will be $4,500 for Catholic families registered at another parish and $5,500 for those not registered as a Catholic family.
"We're going to be following Ignatian tradition," Mahoney added, "which really is focused on the four tenants of academic excellence, social justice, community and service."
The school is slated to open in August 2017.