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Shovels are ready to break ground for Kuna School District’s third, and newest, high school.

Residents are invited to attend a groundbreaking ceremony for the future career technical education high school 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 5 at the site, on Linder Road between Columbia and Lake Hazel roads. Event attendees are asked to park at Linder Farms (across the street from the site).

The school district also plans to announce the name of the new school. A special meeting will be held at 5 p.m. in the district office to finalize the name. A naming contest was held within the entire student body, input from the community was sought.

MORE ABOUT THE FUTURE HIGH SCHOOL

The first building phase of the new high school, which will focus on instruction in career technical fields, includes a two-story building which will hold the “core” of the career technical programs on the first floor. Those programs include construction, welding and agriculture, auto and diesel mechanics, engineering and health sciences. 

Final permits and plans for the school were approved in January by city officials. They include:

  • 72,000 square-foot building (phase one) occupying 17 acres on the northeast corner of Linder and Columbia roads.
  • A nearly 13,500-square-foot heavy diesel and automotive technology lab, with a nearby asphalt auto compound area.
  • A 4,800-square-foot construction lab, with a nearby asphalt construction yard.
  • One 1,500-square-foot anatomy and pharmacy science lab, with a next door 2,000-square-foot health classroom and a driveway for an ambulance.
  • A 1,500-square-foot electronics classroom and lab.
  • A nearly 1,500-square-foot kitchen with adjoining 3,300-square-foot cafe and commons area, with indoor and outdoor seating.
  • Ten general purpose classrooms on the first level, seven on the second floor. Core subjects such as English and math will be taught in those rooms as well. Rooms average around 800 square feet.
  • Administrative offices near the building’s main entrance.
  • One 2,400-square-foot study lounge on the second floor.

About 500 students are estimated to attend classes in the new school around its opening, which is planned for sometime in 2020. About 400 parking spaces are planned for phase one.

One driveway, located off Linder Road, will be primarily for parents and students to use, so that buses and utility vehicles can use the second driveway, also on Linder Road. This will allow buses to travel without getting in congestion with parents and students.

A deceleration lane will lead into each driveway, and each driveway will have one entrance lane and two exit lanes. A reader board location is also in the works.

The first phase of building the new career technical high school is being funded by $25 million from a bond passed March 2017. As more bond money is approved, the school district will add onto the school.

The building’s exterior will be primarily constructed with split face concrete block with a masonry-look in browns and grays, which is the same material used for the current high school. The colors and materials will speak to the building’s industrial nature.

Reddish steel beams will add accent in style and color. A metal roof will cover the building and parts of the outdoor spaces.

Portions of the interior will have insulated metal panel siding. The insulation will be between colored and textured metal.

Some window frames will have a bright terracotta reddish panels, but most windows will have aluminum frames for the glass. Aluminum panels, traditionally grey, will also be in some windows.

Other building features include up-to-date security measures, such as metal "grills" that are lowered in an emergency, and a buzz-in system. 

Additional modifications include:

  • There is no demarcation for faculty and student parking.
  • Phase one area will be completely fenced with coated chain-link fencing along Mason Creek, through the additional land back to Linder Road.
  • Only breaks in fence will be for maintenance vehicle access and a pedestrian bridge to the neighboring Springhill Subdivision, was a request/requirement of the city for pedestrian connectivity.
  • A place for an ambulance to park if brought for instruction on loading/unloading patients for EMT program students. The parking space is directly in front of the health lab doors.
  • Built-in bistro counters in the cafeteria for additional seating.
  • Additional storage space.
  • Instead of permanent fixed lifts for heavy diesel vehicle work, the plan is to have portable lifts stored to one side of the lab.
  • Some technology specifics include all classrooms having a large screen TV compatible with teacher computer, a classroom set of Chromebooks and audio amplification for the teacher in the classroom.

At full build-out, the school is planned to be about 260,000 square feet and will have about 1,600 students The property, 60 acres total, the school will be built on is zoned agricultural and has previously been farmed. The school district purchased the land, known as Durrant property, for $1.5 million August 2017.

The school will be built next to the incoming Springhill Subdivision and directly across from the incoming Whisper Meadows Subdivision. To connect to Springhill, the school district was asked to incorporate a walking path and bridge over Mason Creek. The school district was also asked to plan for an entrance to be directly across from a Whisper Meadows entrance.

Future phase plans for the remaining 43 acres that will be developed as funding becomes available include:

  • A football field and spectator seating
  • Crosswalks to access the football field and seating
  • A practice football field
  • A tennis complex with eight courts
  • Two baseball fields
  • Two softball fields
  • A track
  • A multipurpose field
  • An amphitheater
  • Two soccer fields
  • Two roundabouts
  • An entryway off Columbia Road
  • About 320 additional parking spaces (to eventually total about 900)

Over 200 trees are detailed in the plans for the new high school. They include a mix of deciduous trees, which lose their leaves in the fall, and coniferous trees, which have needle-like leaves and tend keep their “leaves” year-round. Trees include Colorado Blue Spruces, Giant Sequoias and Spring Snow Crabapple.

Landscaping and planting will occur through multiple phases of the high school’s construction.

About 811 shrubs, perennial plants, which regrow every lifecycle, and ornamental grasses. These plants include:, Blue Chip Junipers, Dwarf Burning Bushes, Karl Foerster’s Feather Reed Grass and Red Twig Dogwoods.

Some of these plants will be closer to the school building and in parking lot islands.

Alx Stevens is the reporter for Kuna Melba News. Contact her at 208-922-3008 or editor@kunamelba.com.

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