Compass Public Charter School

Compass Public Charter School Plans for 2-Story School in West Meridian

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by Patty Bowen, Idaho Press

A Meridian charter school that has almost quadrupled in size since opening plans to build a new facility.

Compass Public Charter School is looking to build a two-story, 68,000-square-foot building on the northeast corner of West Franklin and South Black Cat roads. The new site is scheduled to open in fall 2019, pending city approval.

To pay for construction, Compass ran a $12 million private bond with a 30-year lifespan.

Compass, a public school charted by the state, is not part of the West Ada School District and does not get funding from public bonds run by the district, such as the $95 million bond voters approved in March.

Compass operates an elementary school in a building it purchased in 2009 on West Cherry Lane in Meridian. For its secondary school, Compass leases space in the former University of Phoenix building off Interstate 84.

High school and middle schoolers are scheduled to move into the new building in fall 2019, and elementary grades are slated to follow a year later. Over the next two years, Compass plans to sell its elementary building and add 50,000 square feet at the new campus, bringing all grades to one campus.

Since Compass opened in 2005, it has grown from roughly 250 students to over 900 students. By 2025 the school plans to serve 1,400 students, said school administrator Kelly Trudeau. The school receives applications from 650 to 700 new students per year, she said.

Compass gets funding from the state for student enrollment and attendance. It also gets some funding from the state for a percentage of the statewide average amount of bond and plant facility levies per student, which covers roughly a quarter of the school’s facility costs — not including the cost the school will be paying on the new bond, Trudeau said.

Compass has been sub-leasing a building from the Apollo Education Group — the company that operates University of Phoenix — for five years. Trudeau said the rent goes up each year, from $320,000 in year one to $425,000 today. The lease expires in October 2019.

Compass had considered buying the building. “Owning a new building is more fiscally responsible than renting,” Trudeau said.

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