Help Us Build Our Future
Blaine County School District 2019 Facility Upgrades and Maintenance Recommendations
*Download a pdf of the document here.
The District’s school buildings and infrastructure provide critical support to student learning across the District. Multiple studies and research reviews in the past two decades have found significant correlations between poor structural conditions of schools and lower student achievement, including decreased attendance and graduation. Critical to creating good physical learning environments are the considerations of aesthetics, lighting, temperature, acoustics, indoor air quality, access to online knowledge and information, and adequate space for frequent student movement. In addition, this research also finds the quality of a school’s physical condition plays a significant role in the teaching experience and the satisfaction of staff.
Blaine County School District (BCSD) is fortunate to have good to superior school facilities and infrastructure. This position is the result of a community and a school district that have continued to maintain and upgrade these facilities over the years. Just as a homeowner maintains and increases the value of their home through excellent home maintenance and improvements, a school district must also maintain its buildings and make modifications as technology and learning requirements change. Good maintenance increases the longevity of facilities and reduces future costs.
The BCSD Board of Trustees recognizes its responsibility in maintaining, to the highest level, the community investment in its schools, including the physical buildings and infrastructure. This stewardship led the Board of Trustees to direct the administration and the Finance Committee to examine the District’s current facilities and how they are (or are not) meeting the District’s needs. The Finance Committee was also tasked with projecting what would need to be replaced or updated in the next 10 years, as the general wear and tear on facilities, by thousands of students and staff, gradually takes its toll. Superintendent Holmes and the administration concur with the recommendations of the Finance Committee subject to public comment and suggestions from the Board of Trustees. This document includes a list of the recommended projects and an explanation of why each is critical to maintaining the learning excellence standard of BCSD.
Finance Committee Recommendation and Rationale
Annual State-required maintenance dollars for all buildings. COST: $13,000,000
WHY: Idaho Code 33-1019 requires school districts to allocate 2% of the replacement value of the school building for general maintenance. If this requirement is not met out of Plant Facilities dollars, it must be met out of General Fund dollars, which support teaching and learning.
$1,300,000/year x 10 years = $13,000,000
Annual Technology Costs: door controls, cameras, network, device replacement, Chromebooks or similar devices for all students. COST: $9,960,000
WHY: Provides daily safety supports and infrastructure to all schools and District operations. BCSD has a one-to-one deployment of devices to students. State assessments are all conducted online, and the majority of curriculum materials have online components. Online access has become critical for students and staff to access knowledge and information. Each year some devices are replaced, as the devices have a lifespan of 3 to 5 years. Cost estimate includes Google Management Licensing access control and camera systems, intercom and clock replacement for all elementary schools, phone systems, wireless, servers, firewall and network devices, cybersecurity measures.
$996,000/year x 10 years = $9,960,000
School Specific Projects COST: $17,000,000 *See below
Grand Total: $40,021,289
Alturas Elementary COST: $638,000
- Add two classrooms so that preschool can be offered at Alturas Elementary. COST: $638,000
WHY: Attending preschool results in more students being prepared and on level for kindergarten. More space is needed to serve the four-year-old population in Blaine County. Alturas is currently unable to serve preschool students due to lack of space.
Alturas Elementary is the newest school building in the District. It opened in 2006 and houses a Dual Language Magnet School serving grades K through 5. It provides instruction in both English and Spanish literacy as well as the other core content areas for the elementary grades. It serves general education students as well as students identified for Gifted and Talented, Special Education services, and English Language Learners.
The school has 24 classrooms and is at capacity with 414 students.
Bellevue Elementary COST: $493,451
- Replace roof. COST: $126,000
WHY: Maintain integrity of the building as the current roof is 30 years old and at end of its life.
- Add gutters, downspouts, drywells, and heat tape COST: $60,500
WHY: Improve student and staff safety by reducing ice build-up on sidewalks and grounds.
- Change front office layout to improve safety and provide line of sight to front door. COST: $135,000
WHY: Improve building security with improved line of sight and control of access to building by staff.
- Install windows and/or skylights throughout to improve natural lighting. COST: $152,000
WHY: Bellevue Elementary has little to no natural light in many parts of the building. Natural lighting is a contributor to good mental health and positive well-being needed for student learning.
- Replace curtains and portable stage to improve structural supports. COST: $19,951
WHY: Improve safety for students during practices and performances.
Bellevue Elementary was originally built in 1968 and included 8 classrooms. The building was expanded in 1968, 1984, and 1996. The school serves preschool through grade five. It serves general education students as well as students identified for Gifted and Talented, Special Education services (including students with developmental delays), and English Language Learners.
The school has 22 classrooms with an enrollment of 245 students.
Carey School COST: $2,587,000
- Replace current underground boys’ locker room. COST: $1,500,000
WHY: Current locker room does not meet ADA requirements, nor does it provide adequate lines of sight for supervision, space, and privacy.
- Install boilers to make piping system in walkways between buildings functional. COST: $65,000
WHY: Improve safety in winter when walking between buildings. Ice hazards make walking between building difficult in cold weather. Carey students must access three separate buildings throughout the day in order to access their classrooms, the gym, and the cafeteria.
- Replace high school roof. COST: $540,000
WHY: Maintain integrity of the building as the current roof is quickly deteriorating
- Replace elementary school carpet. COST: $82,000
WHY: Carpet is worn and presents trip hazards throughout the elementary building.
- Replace track. COST: $400,000
WHY: Current track base is failing. Track is cracked and crumbling.
The original portion of the current Carey School was built in 1965 and includes additions in 1975, 1986, 1992, and 1996. A separate building to house Carey High School was built on the same property in 2003. Site improvements were done in 2012. The school serves preschool through grade 12. It serves general education students as well as students identified for Gifted and Talented, Special Education services, and English Language Learners.
The school has 28 classrooms with an enrollment of 254 students.
Ernest Hemingway STEAM School COST: $3,000,000
- Add 8 classroom spaces along with restrooms, a single office, and a conference room. COST: $3,000,000
WHY: This space would replace the temporary portable classrooms that currently house middle-school students and provide the needed space identified in memos to the Board of Trustees as a part of the inclusion of middle-school grades at Hemingway. The portable classrooms have a temporary zoning permit which limits the amount of time the buildings can be used in this location.
The original portion of Hemingway Elementary was built in 1968 and includes additions and remodels in 1974, 1988, 1992, 1994, 2003, and 2014. The school serves preschool through grade 8, with instruction provided through the lens of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics). It serves general education students as well as students identified for Gifted and Talented, Special Education services, and English Language Learners.
The school has 27 classrooms and 4 temporary classrooms with an enrollment of 491 students.
Hailey Elementary COST: $2,291,020
- Install fencing around entire playground. COST: $61,200
WHY: Hailey Elementary playground is situated near Highway 75 and several public venues, making it easy for students to wander into harm’s way and for the general public to access students without first checking in at the school office. Hailey Elementary provides services to some students who, due to their special needs, have a tendency to run when stressed, increasing the likelihood of students encountering the danger of the highway and public spaces.
- Replace roof on the upper building. COST: $118,000
WHY: Maintain the integrity of the building as the current roof is at the end of its life.
- Add windows to classrooms with little natural light, redesign Music Room to make it ADA compliant, replace gym windows to improve safety and efficiency, install ADA push-button front door and call buttons at select doors. COST: $290,100
WHY: Hailey Elementary has little to no natural light in parts of the building. Gym windows were covered with wood to provide better energy efficiency, which then eliminated natural light in the gym. Natural lighting is a contributor to good mental health and positive well-being needed for student learning. Portions of the school are not ADA compliant and limit access for some individuals with disabilities.
- Create a new entry to the school, replace “Echo Hall” that connects upper and lower buildings, improve front office security, improve parent/student drop-off and bus drop-off, add a common entry and gathering space for students at the beginning and end of school, increase security, and move to two main access doors rather than the current 17 doors. Alarm doors and upgrade to a standard locking system. Replace asphalt on the playground. COST: $1,761,180
WHY: Improve building security with an improved line of sight and control of access to the building by staff. Student and public access would be reduced to two large entrances (from the current 17 entrances) that funnel into a common space with a larger office and common space to process visitors and monitor security at entrances. Student drop-off and pickup by parents and buses are currently distributed around all four sides of the building and often in the public street with limited drop-off lanes for parents to pull out of traffic and into a safe space for student drop-off. Bus parking and drop-off would be expanded and parent drop-off space would be consolidated and greatly expanded to eliminate the need to use public streets as drop-off locations. Asphalt is cracked and crumbling, creating trip hazards.
- Replace exterior doors to increase energy efficiency. COST: $59,940
WHY: The building has 17 doors, all of which are sources of cold air and significant heat loss during much of the school year.
The original portion of Hailey Elementary was built as a high school prior to 1938 and includes additions and remodels from 1938, 1965, 1974, 1986, 1995, and 2014. The current school is actually the joining of two previous school buildings and extends the length of 2.5 football fields. The school serves preschool through grade five. It serves general education students as well as students identified for Gifted and Talented, Special Education services (including services for Autism Spectrum Disorder, Behavioral Disorders, and Early Childhood Special Education), and English Language Learners.
The school has 37 classrooms with an enrollment of 369 students.
Silver Creek High School COST: $248,000
- Provide a space for serving breakfast and lunch and a “home economics” kitchen for workshops and celebrations. COST: $100,000
WHY: The school has no designated food preparation or eating space for students.
- Add windows and/or skylights to improve natural lighting. Replace furniture in classrooms as needed. COST: $148,000
WHY: The school has little to no natural light in many parts of the building. Natural lighting is a contributor to good mental health and positive well-being needed for student learning. Much of the classroom furniture is old and worn.
Silver Creek High School (SCHS) was originally built in 1995 as a science complex for the old WRHS (now the BCSD Community Campus). The building currently serves as an alternative high school for students in grades 9 through 12. Part of the building also houses school psychologists and similar support staff as well as the School Nutrition and Transportation offices. School psychologists and other support staff are being relocated to WRMS provide more space for SCHS.
SCHS serves approximately 50 students.
Wood River High School COST: $3,740,958
- Create 150 additional parking spaces for students and patrons. COST: $440,000
WHY: Current parking is inadequate for students and staff. Some students are required to park on a dirt lot that serves as snow storage in the winter.
- Develop Quigley athletic fields and soccer fields to create unified spaces for soccer and baseball/softball with parking, restrooms, and 150 parking spaces. The project would include moving Nelson Field from Hailey Elementary to WRHS. COST: $1,962,500
WHY: Current WRHS athletic fields stretch from Hailey Elementary School (Nelson Field) to the north of WRHS and south of the Community Campus. This project would allow consolidation of various venues so that games and practices within the same sport would all take place in a joint location and share services of the Athletic Trainer and Administrator on duty. These additional fields will also alleviate the strain placed on field usage and availability both for school-sponsored activities and for community club sports.
- Remodel locker rooms. COST: $568,458
WHY: To provide privacy and safety in accordance with the District’s Gender Inclusion Policy.
- Install artificial turf in stadium. COST: $770,000
WHY: Use of the stadium is currently limited due to wear and tear on the field. Installing artificial turf would make it possible for the stadium to be used on a daily basis for athletic competitions, physical education classes, and outside organizations.
WRHS opened in 2003. It serves general education students as well as students identified for Gifted and Talented, Special Education services (including services for Autism Spectrum Disorder, Behavioral disorders, and students with developmental delays), and English Language Learners. It includes specialty rooms such as art studios, technology and robotics classrooms, science labs, choir room, band/orchestra room, culinary arts kitchens, two gyms, a commons area and cafeteria, and a large library. In addition, drama, construction, medical technology, and VOICE II classes are held in rooms at the Community Campus, a campus of the BCSD.
WRHS has 61 classrooms and serves 952 students.
Wood River Middle School COST: $2,776,302
- Replace carpet throughout hallways. COST: $112,452
WHY: Carpet is worn and at the end of its life throughout the building.
- Expand gym or add second gym. COST: $443,250
WHY: The school’s single gym space is inadequate for the concurrent programming of three PE classes per period and for multiple extracurricular sports offered each season. This results in PE classes being held in hallways and sports team practices being held in the cafeteria.
- Replace heat pumps and boilers. COST: $1,125,000
WHY: Boilers are at the end of their expected lifespan.
- Replace driveways, parking lots and sidewalks. Includes new curbing, gutters, and lighting. COST: $1,095,600
WHY: Curbs are damaged by years of snow removal. Bollards are cracked and chipped, and some have extensive damage. Asphalt is cracked and crumbling. Lighting is insufficient for safety at evening activities.
WRHS was occupied in 1996 and expanded in 2013. Fourteen classrooms have been added since the school opened, resulting in crowded hallways and common spaces. Expanding the width of the hallways is cost-prohibitive. The school received upgrades for front office security in 2015 and locker room improvements in 2017. The school serves grades 6 through 8. It serves general education students as well as students identified for Gifted and Talented, Special Education services (including services for Autism Spectrum Disorder and Behavioral disorders), and English Language Learners. It includes specialty rooms for art, technology and robotics, choir, band/orchestra, and a large library.
WRHS has 45 classrooms with an enrollment of 635 students.
Community Campus: A Campus of the Blaine County School District COST: $1,286,558
- Install drywells and reconfigure piping to flow from the building into the drywells. COST: $40,000
WHY: The drain outlets along the exterior of the building currently allow water to flow back underneath the building. The new installation would convey the water away from the building in an effort to prolong its life.
- Replace asphalt in the loading dock area. COST: $28,500
WHY: This area housed a cooling tower until 2012. The concrete pad for the tower needs to be removed and the area regraded to slope away from the building.
- Install new LED lighting along the south and southwest exterior of the building. COST: $22,000
WHY: Current exterior lighting is inadequate for safety.
- Improve parking lot lighting. COST: $44,745
WHY: Current lighting is inadequate for safety.
- Add parking lot between Community Campus and softball field to relieve overcrowding. COST: $392,900
WHY: Fire lane infractions are common in this area as there is inadequate parking near these fields.
- Add restrooms for sports fields south of Community Campus. COST: $350,000
WHY: There are currently no restrooms for players and spectators attending soccer and softball games.
- Create new traffic entry and exit locations to improve traffic flow. COST: $241,000
WHY: A significant bottleneck at the Community Campus entry occurs in the afternoon as students exit WRHS or after major events. A crosswalk in close proximity to the entry/exit location adds to the congestion and creates hazards for pedestrians and drivers.
- Install boilers to provide heat to improve sidewalk safety in winter. COST: $167,413
WHY: Ice on sidewalks is responsible for multiple accident reports at this facility with both school district and public use.
The Community Campus was built in 1974 with an addition in 1990. After the new building for WRHS opened in 2003, the first of several remodels was done to convert the former high school into community space as well as classrooms for theater, construction, VOICE II, and medical technology. It houses the meeting room for the Board of Trustees, several training spaces, and community partners such as BCRD, CSI, Sun Valley Music Festival, Footlight Dance, and NAMI, all of which lease space in the building from BCSD.
Process for Determining Needs
Throughout the 2018-19 school year, principals and their building leadership teams reviewed their schools’ facilities and created a list of improvements they believed were needed to improve the educational experience and outcomes at their site. The Finance Committee, appointed by the Board of Trustees and consisting of parents, community members, teachers and administrators, visited each school and the Community Campus to hear firsthand from the administrators and to see for themselves the needs of each site. The meetings were publicly noticed and the public was invited, with opportunity for public comment at each meeting. The agendas and minutes from each meeting are found at https://www.blaineschools.org/Page/2989.
This list of needs was compiled into a single spreadsheet for review by building principals and the Finance Committee. Each request was ranked according to its priority to the Learning Environment as well as its priority to the Physical Environment. The rubrics used to assign rankings are provided below. The Finance Committee then reviewed the list to ensure that similar requests (i.e., more natural lighting) from different schools were treated equitably. The Finance Committee then began to evaluate the list to reduce the cost to a level they felt was acceptable to the community. This list is summarized above and was presented to the Board of Trustees on October 8, 2019. The Board has scheduled multiple community listening sessions to receive public input on these projects.
Prioritizing Rubric: Critical to the Mission (Learning)
- Necessary to provide Instruction/Programming as determined by Trustees and/or Idaho Content Standards.
- Equivalence among facilities and existing programming (based on enrollment, level, demographics), adequate multi-purpose rooms, office spaces, etc. Dedicated library/media, athletic facilities, performing arts.
- Learning Environment - Program expansion/new programs, progressive change, expansion of Career Technical Education, planning with imagination, projects that improve the environmental qualities of a building or site above the adopted District standards.
- Operational Convenience - Improve the quality of the learning environment but are not critical to the continued use of the building/facility.
- Prioritizing Rubric: Physical Environment
Prioritizing Rubric: Physical Environment
- Safety and security
- Compliance with law
- Compliance with policy
- Critical repairs - to avoid temporary or permanent closure of a building, prevent other damage to a site, or delay deterioration which will cause an inordinate increase in scope or cost if delayed. Immediate action needed.
- Preventative repairs and improvement to maintain the integrity of the building/facility.
- Necessary repairs - supporting existing programs (renovation of classroom spaces, acoustical treatment, renovation of older schools to meet current program standards).
- Provide operational efficiencies and economies (energy conservation, pavement sealing, irrigation systems, HVAC automation); increases reasonable lifespan.
- Deferrable repairs
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