After two years of renovations, the Kuna School District on Aug. 13 unveiled expanded facilities at Fremont Middle School, the district’s second middle school, which opened last year.

Kuna School District officials, school board trustees and students cut a ribbon to celebrate the completion of the $5.5 million project, which includes a new classroom wing and expanded dining facilities.

The expansion was funded through a school bond, approved by Kuna voters two years ago.

“This was one of the major components of that bond,” said Wendy Johnson, Kuna School District’s superintendent. “In order for us to have some room for the growth within in our community and also better serve middle school students, we added onto the school.”

Fremont Middle School ribbon-cutting

Wendy Johnson, Kuna School District's superintendent, speaks at a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating Fremont Middle School's expanded facilities on Aug. 13, 2019. The $5.5 million project added six new classrooms, a cafeteria and kitchen. 

Kuna voters approved a $40 million bond measure in 2017 that would provide additions to two elementary schools, convert Teed Elementary School into Fremont Middle School, renovate Kuna Middle School, add a new multipurpose athletic room to Kuna High School and build a new 500-student high school.

J.D. Grant, chairman of the Kuna School District board of trustees, thanked Kuna voters during the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“This all is because of you guys,” Grant said. “We were able to pass the bond, to add on to the schools, get another high school and add on to a couple more schools. (This is a) pretty impressive add-on.”

Fremont Middle School ribbon-cutting

A new science classroom at Fremont Middle School is seen on Aug. 13, 2019. The classroom was constructed as part of a $5.5 expansion project at the school. 

The expansion added six classrooms, including a few science labs, as well as a new cafeteria and kitchen.

“Prior to this we didn’t have a kitchen, so we transported all of our food to this building from the high school,” Johnson said. “Now we can actually prepare food fresh for our kids here.”

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In total, the expansion increased the school’s capacity by more than 200 students.

Built in 1982, the building originally was a middle school. It was transitioned to an elementary school, Teed Elementary, around 2002, to serve a growing demand for that age group at the time.

In recent years the demand has shifted, warranting an additional middle school.

“When we did our (10-year) growth study, the majority of growth, especially for the types of homes that were being built out here, indicated older kids,” Johnson said.

Prior to Fremont Middle School’s opening, Kuna Middle School was “way over capacity,” Johnson said.

Kuna Middle School can hold 900 students, while Fremont, with the expansion, can hold 700 students.

Fremont Middle School this year will serve more than 550 students — nearly 80% capacity. Kuna Middle School will be at about 95% capacity this year, Johnson said.

Fremont Middle School ribbon-cutting

A new cafeteria at Fremont Middle School is seen on Aug. 13, 2019. The cafeteria was constructed as part of a $5.5 million expansion project at the school. 

Kuna School District continues to grow. Johnson announced at an Aug. 13 school board meeting that the district is projecting a 348-student, or 6.6%, increase in enrollment this year. Total projected enrollment this year is 5,644.

Continued growth may warrant another expansion of Fremont Middle School or a new middle school in the future, Johnson said.

In the short term, “we have space to house the number of kids that we’re predicting we’ll have,” she said.

Reporter Ryan Suppe can be reached at 208-922-3008. Follow him on Twitter: @salsuppe.

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