A sketch of Idaho Arts Charter School's new building

New Idaho Arts Charter School Set to Open Sept. 2016

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From Idaho Press Tribune | By Alx George

NAMPA — The design has been approved, the site is being prepared and Idaho Arts Charter’s new school is still on track to be completed and open by September.

The project quickly began falling into place in December. After getting a portion of the former Broadmore Golf Course zoned appropriately for the school, Idaho Arts Charter purchased the site for $532,202 on Dec. 20.

Idaho Arts Executive Director Jackie Collins said the school is considering holding a groundbreaking ceremony mid-March.

Contractors are securing foundation and building permits. The building was designed by Network Architects and will be built by Mussell Construction. The 37,000-square-foot school will cost $4.3 million.

Collins said the park-like setting of the former golf course is ideal for the school’s landscaping.

“It’s a unique building in that it’s going to have this large open library that has all these glass windows that open to the trees,” Collins told the Press-Tribune in December. “We’ve got a modern, artsy entryway that’s going to happen. It’s going to be a really cool school.”

The school in December secured $6 million in bond funding, which covered the cost of the building and the land purchase. State funding and a grant from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation will cover equipment (such as a kitchen), classroom needs and new teacher salaries.

Because charter schools can’t receive money from property taxes to pay for new buildings like state public schools can, their bonds are backed by investors.

Jim Blandford of Baird & Co., who is handling Idaho Arts Charter School’s bond financing, said the Idaho Housing and Financing Association puts the bonds on the open market for bid, and once the bonds are backed, the financing association lends the money to the school.

The school pays back the loan, including interest, through state funds appropriated based on average daily attendance. Idaho Arts Charter School will be paying off the $6 million in bonds over 30 years.

Blandford said only qualified institutional investors, who focus on supporting bonds for charter schools, are able to back charter school bonding.

The new school will allow Idaho Arts to nearly double the number of seats offered to students. The new building will serve kindergarten through fourth grade. Fifth through 12th grades will be in the current building.

In August, the Nampa school district, which sponsors the charter, approved increasing the charter’s available seats. The charter serves 780 children. With the new building, Collins said she anticipates 1,320 students.

The school was chartered 2005.

“We’re a well-established school, and parents and families have been happy with the education their kids get here,” Collins said. “I think everybody is pretty excited that there’s maybe more opportunity for a child to get an education here.”

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