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Pocatello/Chubbuck School District needs city council’s approval for next step of project

On Monday, crews were working on the first phase of renovations at Pocatello High School. Part of a two-phase plan, the work will increase ADA accessibility and create a direct door to the main office.

While many have voiced their disapproval of the district’s plans for the historic structure, the Historic Preservation Commission took things a step further, denying the district’s request for a Certificate of Appropriateness during a July 3 meeting.

According to a letter sent to the district, “The reasons for their decision were the large amount of glazing, rain screen system and no contours on the glazing and rain screen system.”

On July 8, Bart Reed, Director of Business Operations for School District 25, responded, requesting an appeal.

“City Council has the ultimate authority on that one,” Assistant City Planner and Historic Preservation Commission Liason, Terri Neu, explained.

Neu said that recommendations for changes were made to the district, but it appeared that the costs would be more than the district had.

The current plans for phase two include adding 10 classrooms, connecting all campus buildings, further increasing ADA accessibility with ramps and an elevator, among other things.

“They are wanting to bring it up into the 21st century and feel that they need to have those classrooms to do so,” Neu said.

Neu also added that the proposed changes are not “character-defining” and as such would go along with the Secretary of the Interior’s standards.

Phase one, which is expected to be completed sometime in August, will not be impacted by phase two, even if it is ultimately rejected.

The Pocatello City Council will meet on August 1 to decide the fate of the plan. It will not be a public hearing so they will not be taking testimony.

It’s “strictly a chance to decide,” Neu said.

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