Idaho Falls opts to build a new high school

IDAHO FALLS — The Idaho Falls School District is moving forward with plans to rebuild — not remodel — Idaho Falls High School.

Superintendent George Boland confirmed the decision in a recent phone call with Idaho Education News. The agenda for an Idaho Falls School Board meeting on Wednesday also confirms the district’s desire to build a new school.

The meeting’s agenda outlines “authorization” for naming a construction manager or general contractor for the new high school.

Boland wouldn’t discuss the developments in detail, but said the decision hinged on getting the “biggest bang for (the district’s) buck.”

“Given the age and condition of the current school, a rebuild just seems to be the best option at this point,” Boland said.

The district originally planned on remodeling both Idaho Falls and Skyline high schools. However, further cost analysis and research prompted Boland and the board to opt for a rebuild of Idaho Falls High, while sticking with plans to upgrade Skyline.

Recent projections put the project to upgrade both schools at $100 million. Which means patrons with homes valued at $200,000 could see an annual tax bump of about $50 a year, assuming taxable growth of 1 percent within the district’s boundaries. (Earlier this summer, investment officials reported at least 1 percent growth in the district’s taxable value since fiscal year 2014.)

Boland also said there’s still a lot to consider regarding the looming project, including a location for the new school and what to do with the existing building.

Check back with EdNews throughout the week for more details on this developing story.