Columbia and Linder roads land
Courtesy David Reinhart

KUNA —The Kuna Joint School District has selected a site for the new high school.

The Kuna Joint School District board of trustees unanimously approved a contract to purchase 60 acres of land for $1.5 million at the northeast corner of Columbia and Linder roads.

District spokesman David Reinhart — representing a committee of engineers, planners and local residents — recommended that the board of trustees approve to purchase the site at the Aug. 8 board meeting.

The new high school is planned to open in 2020. The current high school’s capacity is 1,500 students. Its current enrollment is about 1,700 students.

The committee considered several land sites, including two owned by the Kuna school district, as possible locations for the new high school. Reinhart said the committee concluded the land needed to be available for construction within two years, a minimum of 60 acres in size, near population growth and bought and developed at a fiscally-responsible price.

The 100 acres of land located on Kuna Road, donated in December of 2015, but not chosen for the new high school, will likely have a school built on it in the future, Reinhart said. It was not chosen for the new high school because of the time and money necessary to make the land usable.

The estimated road engineering changes, utility accessibility and re-routing of the irrigation canal will take approximately four years and an added $5 million to complete if the district were to build on that 100 acres on Kuna Road.

“The moment we realized this wasn’t going to work this go-around,” Reinhart said at the meeting, “was when we met with (Idaho Department of Transportation) and they said, ‘If you’re going to put a high school there, you’re going to have to remove the Kuna curve,’ which is kind of a shocking thing to think of. ... The costs just aren’t fiscally possible.”

Construction on the land near Columbia and Linder roads can begin summer of 2018. It will cost $1.5 million to purchase. It will need approximately $500,000 in infrastructure costs to make the land usable for the new high school.

The committee ruled out two other considered sites because the land owners were unwilling to sell their lands at their appraised values, but rather above the appraised values.

“I like all the reasons that you came to,” trustee Kimberlee Nixon said of the recommendation at the meeting. “I appreciate (the committee) taking time to figure this out.”

Several committees are working on the improvements approved by voters in the recent bond. Residents who would like to be involved and offer insight to the committees are asked to call the district office at 922-1000.

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

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