IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - The old Sears building at the Grand Teton Mall in Idaho Falls won’t be empty much longer.
Alturas International Academy announced Tuesday that they are excited to open a rigorous new high school serving the greater Idaho Falls area. Classes are expected to start for the 2021-2022 school year.
Upon receiving state approval, the new school was awarded a grant from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation to help fund the purchase and renovation of the school’s future home, the 73,000-square-foot former Sears building.
The school will follow the same model that AIA has used in its K-8 school since opening in 2016. The model centers on teaching students primarily in small groups according to their instructional levels, rather than in large lectures according to grade level.
“We are really excited to offer this kind of learning in the community,” said AIA Executive Director Michelle Ball. “This has been a long time coming and was always the vision from the very start of Alturas International Academy.”
AIA is currently the only authorized IB World School in Eastern Idaho. Come next school year, they will start with grades six through 10 at the new school location, adding 11th and 12th grades in over the next two years.
Architectural plans call for 30 classrooms, science labs, common areas, an art room, drama room, music room, gym, wide hallways, and abundant natural light. In a unique twist, each classroom will feature large overhead doors – in addition to regular man doors – that allow the rooms to open into larger collaborative spaces. The school will be completely closed off from the mall, and Ball says you’ll never know the space used to belong to a department store.
The new school will be open to any student living in the boundaries of Idaho Falls School District #91, Bonneville School District #93, or Shelley School District #60, as well as others by application.