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BOISE -- Big changes are coming fast in southeast Boise's old ParkCenter Mall. Sage International School plans to double in capacity by moving in, but that move means Knock 'em Dead Dinner Theatre has to leave, getting notice just two weeks before an opening night.

Sage International to double enrollment in two years with expansion

Since Sage International School opened in 2010 with just 230 students, the goal has been to expand the charter school. Each year, Executive Director Don Keller says they have to turn hundreds of students away.

Right now, there are 550 kids in two buildings, but with the new expansion into the ParkCenter Mall space, there will be room for 1,000 students in two years. The expansion will add 80,000 square feet. The current Sage building next door will house kindergarten through first grades; second through 12th grades will ultimately be in the new building.

We're going to have things that the kids have wanted for a long time, which is just more space, a lunchroom, a library, an auditorium and our own dedicated play space. Because the [old] bank on this property will be torn down and turned into a playground space for those students, Keller said.

School to start renovations soon, first kids move in next school year

The project will happen in two phases. Sage has an outside investment from the new landlord of up to $6 million to renovate and will lease with an option to own. Keller says good planning and community partners have allowed the school to make this big leap just a few years after opening.

We've been very frugal, Keller said. We wanted to make sure we were a school of choice that people were very interested in. We started with 230. As your enrollment goes up, funding kind of comes a little bit with it.

Keller says the plan is to begin work on the renovations as soon as they get the final okay from the city, which he says should be on March 13.

As soon as we get our final letter from the city, then we will start remodeling as quickly as possible because we'd like to have it ready to go August 1st of this summer so we can move furniture and get students in there, Keller said.

Dinner theatre given 30 days to leave ParkCente
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The building's current tenant, Knock 'em Dead Dinner Theatre, now finds itself with a big and difficult project. The landlord told the theatre group it has to leave in a month. The community theater was set to open a production of the musical Avenue Q in two weeks, but it's now been canceled.

I wish we knew more. We just got notified by the owner of ParkCenter Mall that they are optioning their termination of lease, so we have 30 days as of this last week to get out of ParkCenter Mall, said Scott Beseman, Knock 'em Dead Executive Director.

Beseman says right now, they don't have a place to take the costumes, sets and other theater items.

3,000 square feet of costumes, sets, lights, all that kind of stuff, Beseman said. Right now, we're not worrying so much about a theater, as we have to get out of here pretty quickly. Thirty days isn't much time to move this much stuff. We've been around 29 years. So we've got 29 years worth of costumes. So it's pretty crazy.

Knock 'em Dead has been 'knocked out' of two other spaces for development

Knock 'em Dead has been forced to move twice before, both times for downtown development. First, they had to leave the 8th and Main area to make way for the failed Boise Tower project (which is now the 8th and Main building). Then, they had to leave 9th Street when the JUMP project began.

Many years ago, there was a little theater in Boise called Theater in a Trunk . We kind of feel like that... 'Theater in a warehouse' is what we're going to be for a while, Beseman said.

For now, the theater isn't even sure where that warehouse will be. Beseman says they need 3,000 square feet of storage in the next couple weeks.

Once we get storage taken care of, then we can worry about finding places to do Avenue Q, Sense and Sensibility, and how we're going to continue, Beseman said.

Beseman says they can use help finding storage, a new venue and with moving. On Saturday, March 8, they will need help packing starting at 10 a.m.

Both groups: No tension between theatre and school

Beseman says the dinner theatre didn't even know who the new tenants would be and that everything has gone through the landlord, so there haven't been any problems with the school.

Keller says there hasn't been any tension that he's personally heard of with the dinner theatre. He says as with any building projects there have been obstacles.

Since we're just leasing from the landlord, we haven't had any [tension] with Knock 'em Dead, Keller said. Through this whole process, of course when you want to put a school somewhere, there's lots of people with issues and concerns, so people in the community have worked really hard going back and forth and saying, how can we make this a win win situation for all? And I think that's where we're at now.

Smoky Mountain Pizzeria Grill is staying

Keller says Smoky Mountain Pizzeria Grill will be staying in the space and hopefully acting as a partner with the school, including for school lunches.

Smoky Mountain Pizzeria Grill is looking forward to being a gathering place for the friends and families of Sage International School alongside our long term loyal customers, Dan Todd, president of Smoky Mountain Pizzeria Grill, said in a statement.

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