pocatellohigh.jpg Pocatello-Chubbock School District
Pocatello High School

Idaho district will appeal rejection of high school renovation

The Pocatello Historic Preservation Commission has rejected the Pocatello-Chubbuck School District's renovation plans for Pocatello High School.

A school district in Idaho says it will appeal a preservation commission's rejection of plans to renovate one of its high schools.

The Idaho State Journal reports that the Pocatello-Chubbuck School District will challenge the Pocatello Historic Preservation Commission’s decision to deny a certificate of appropriateness for the second phase of renovations at Pocatello High School.

Officials with say they plan to appeal the commission’s decision to the Pocatello City Council.

The school district has set aside $7.5 million for the Pocatello High School renovations. The first phase of the project involves remodeling the high school’s front entrance. That work is already underway and is expected to be completed in August.

In the proposed second phase, the school district wants to add 10 classrooms and a commons addition to the high school.

“Our obligation to serve the needs of our learners is our priority,” district spokeswoman Courtney Fisher says.

Recent changes in high school boundaries are expected to increase enrollment at Pocatello High by 100 to 150 in the next two years.

Fisher says the proposed project would help meet several goals: increase student safety by connecting the main building with the auditorium and gym; create a clear main entrance and central administrative offices; improve accessibility to the main and upper floors of the high school as well as new additions; add classrooms and a commons area to accommodate more students; and help alleviate lunch room congestion.

But not everyone agrees with how the district wants to go about making those changes.

The district wants to use glass panels on the connector, but opponents believe the glass panels will not match the architecture of Pocatello High.

The historic preservation commission voted 5-2 earlier this month to deny a certificate of appropriateness. Members seemed most concerned about a lack of harmony between the high school’s brick buildings and the glass panels on the connector; some felt the proposed structure would negatively alter the school’s symmetry.

Fisher says the design for the glass connector was chosen, partly, because it would provide a transparent view of the historic architecture of the old gym and auditorium building behind it. In addition, the glass design would provide a light-filled commons area and provide an effective solution to constraints posed by major utilities.

If it can get the plans approved, the district would begin construction on the second phase of high school renovations in late spring or early summer 2020 so it can complete the project by fall 2021.

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