Teton to break ground this spring

DRIGGS — The Teton School District is hoping to break ground on two new elementary schools and start a hodgepodge of other extensive facilities upgrades as early as this spring.

Teton superintendent Monte Woolstenhulme

If things progress as planned, and weather cooperates, projects could be completed as early as Fall 2019.

“You can hope for the best here, but a lot depends on the winters,” said Teton superintendent Monte Woolstenhulme.

Voters in the quasi-tourist district nestled up against the Wyoming border last month approved a $37.2 million bond issue to fund the improvements.

Here’s what Teton patrons should expect to see in the coming months and years:

Upgrades, price tag and time frame

Most of the money will go to build new schools, and the rest will be devoted to improvements.

  • $22.8 million: A rebuild of both Victor and Driggs elementary schools at new locations
  • $2.5 million: New classrooms, security measures, added gym space and renovated administration area at Teton Middle School
  • $4.7 million: New classrooms, security measures, expanded commons area, new auxiliary gym and renovated administration area at Teton High School

The district’s two other elementary schools, Tetonia and Rendezvous, will get $7.3 million, collectively, for upgrades. These include:

  • New classrooms
  • New technology
  • Bigger bathrooms
  • Entrance security
  • New administration area
  • New roofs and insulation
  • New libraries
  • Seismic upgrades

Woolstenhulme said construction crews will first break ground on the new Victor and Driggs elementary schools. Anywhere from two to six weeks after that, crews will commence on the other two elementary schools. Two to six weeks after that, they’ll start on the secondary schools.

The district has not yet named a general contractor but is slated to during a regular board meeting later this month.

“Once (trustees) select the contractor, they’ll work closely with the architects on designs and get a more specific time frame,” Wollstenhulme said.

Schools will be cramped in the meantime

Woolstenhulme acknowledged that several Teton schools are cramped — and could become more so over the next two years. But he pointed to the district’s lower teacher-student ratios and available modular units to provide wiggle room if growth occurs.

If needed, the district could repurpose a modular computer lab at Victor Elementary School into a classroom. And the student-teacher ratio of just 1:17 means classrooms have some extra space, Woolstemhulme said.

The new Driggs Elementary School will be built on 10 acres of a larger 80-acre, district-owned parcel located just east of Teton Middle School. The old Driggs school will be used for office space.

The new Victor Elementary School will be built on a current city-owned plot north of Sherman Park. The school district and City of Victor will swap Victor Elementary School for this plot, with the city repurposing the current building for its own use.

Will the measure raise property taxes?

Yes. Asset management firm Pipar Jaffray estimated a likely annual tax hike of about $60 per $100,000 of taxable value. Click here to use the district’s property-tax estimator.

Woolstenhulme said the district will regularly update its website and Facebook page during the course of the project.

Devin Bodkin

Devin Bodkin

EdNews assistant editor and reporter Devin Bodkin is a former high school English teacher who specializes in stories about charter schools and educating students who live in poverty. He lives and works in East Idaho. Follow Devin on Twitter @dsbodkin. He can be reached by email at [email protected].

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