Idaho Falls names contractor for new high school

IDAHO FALLS — One of the state’s largest construction companies, Bateman-Hall, will oversee possible construction of a new Idaho Falls High School.

Earlier this week, Idaho EdNews reported that the Idaho Falls School District has scrapped its plans to remodel the aging high school, opting instead for a total rebuild.

District trustees announced Wednesday night that Boise-based Hummel Architects and Idaho Falls-based Alderson Karst Mitro Architects will conjoin in drawing up plans for a new building, as well as plans to upgrade the district’s nearby Skyline High School.

The district and architectural firms began developing concepts and costs for redesigning both high schools last winter. But when projections pegged an entirely new Idaho Falls High School at roughly $60 million — $14 million more than the projected cost of an upgrade — the district changed course. In November, Idaho Falls trustees adopted plans to build a new $60 million Idaho Falls High School, while staying the course with $40 million in upgrades to Skyline.

That means the cost of the overall project could peak at $100 million.

Superintendent George Boland told EdNews that Idaho Falls patrons could see a bond measure on ballots as early as August. Trustees are undecided on how much money to ask patrons for.

But they have decided to ask patrons to support a $6.8 million supplemental levy on March 14. The levy’s primary purpose, Boland said, is to help the district attract and retain teachers.

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A Wednesday press release outlined plans for a community outreach session aimed at gathering feedback and concerns from patrons, sometime in the next few weeks. Check back with Idaho EdNews for dates and times.

Trustees’ focus now turns to determining a location for the new high school, and what to do with the existing building. The board must resolve both concerns before moving forward with the project.