The Idaho Falls School District plans to house a new career-technical education center in the former Deseret Industries building near downtown, as a potential price tag and plan for remodeling the facility continues to emerge.
Trustees in November approved creating a stand-alone facility to streamline CTE courses for students. The district announced Monday that it is leasing the facility and hopes to send out bids to repurpose it into a CTE center later this year.
The lease agreement with JH-2 Properties, LLC runs from Jan. 1, 2022 to Dec. 31, 2026, with the option to lease month-to-month after that. The district is paying $20,160 per month beginning May 1, 2022 with an annual increase of 3% beginning Jan. 1, 2023.
Meanwhile, Idaho Falls expects to put the project for overhauling the 30,000-plus square-foot building out to bid in late winter or early spring, Monday’s announcement said. A bid package will then go to the school board for final approval sometime in the spring.
The downtown-area site, 450 East Street, will make it easier for students to pursue program offerings regardless of where they live, Idaho Falls Superintendent Jim Shank said in Monday’s announcement.
The center will house existing CTE offerings scattered in buildings around the district, including certified nursing assistant, culinary arts, EMT, computer science, construction and trades, agriculture and horticulture programs.
Accessibility for other area high schoolers factored into the proposed location. Students from Firth, Ririe and Shelley also have access, said Idaho Falls’ Career and Technical Education Coordinator Bobbie Crosser Finlayson.
“With the city buildings, fire department and local businesses close by, students will be able to visit those sites without any special transportation,” Finlayson added.
If the board approves a bid package, work will begin “immediately,” with a scheduled opening set for Fall 2022, according to Monday’s announcement. Further plans regarding the current lease will “likely be addressed” as part of renewed efforts to develop a longterm facilities plan in the district.
Idaho Falls started work on a facilities plan in 2019, but it went on hold at the onset of the pandemic. The district is restarting those efforts this month with a comprehensive community survey on facilities to “give parents, patrons and staff an opportunity to identify needs and priorities.