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School district in next stages of discussing IFHS building future

Idaho Falls School District 91 is taking another step toward deciding whether it will upgrade the current Idaho Falls High School, or build an entirely new one.

School District 91 has not made any final decisions yet. But the board is taking the next step toward deciding whether to update the high school or to build a whole new one on Wednesday night. That next step is deciding whether to enter into contract negotiations.

Last year, the district looked at options to upgrade Idaho Falls High School. When they did, they found that another option may be better.

“The redesign, remodel cost were high enough that it made sense for us to then look at, well, what would a new high school cost? Where might we put it? What do we do with the old high school?” School District No. 91 superintendent George Boland said.

The district then put out requests for qualifications at two different times. The first was for the redesign of Idaho Falls High School, and the second — months later — was for the construction of a whole new school.

“The price tag with Idaho Falls High School, for the redesign, has to do with being able to make it a building that accommodates 21st century teaching and learning. So the attractiveness of the new school is that you can design to what you want, rather than try and accommodate what you have,” Boland said.

There is interest within the board to possibly build a completely new school. If there wasn’t, it wouldn’t be using resources to decide how feasible the project would be.

“The role that technology plays today — that’s an important consideration in looking at a remodel and being able to make sure that we have the infrastructure, the Wi-Fi capability to utilize the technology that we use now in instruction,” Boland said.

The Civic Auditorium’s future has been in discussion as well. Because it is a city building, the district and the City of Idaho Falls are talking about options on what would happen to it and the classrooms attached to it.

The school district is having a board meeting Wednesday at 7 p.m. If all stays on schedule, the district believes they may be able to make a decision on whether to remodel or build a new school by this spring.

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