From The Idaho Business Review | By Teya Vitu
A new era starts now for Sage International School, the Boise charter school that has pieced together a single campus and all the K to 12 grades in its first six years.
Sage has ambitions to become the first public International Baccalaureate school in the nation to offer all four IB primary, middle, diploma and career related programs, said Don Keller, Sage’s executive director and a founding member who started the school in 2010.
To that end, Sage closed Dec. 18 on the $8.125 million purchase of the former Parkcenter Mall, a former Sara Lee Bakery office across from the mall and an adjacent former bank property.
The 8-acre acquisition, including 130,000 square feet of building space, will give Sage its first school year in 2016-17 where all 13 grades will be taught at one location. This will be the last school year with grades eight to 12 exiled to downtown.
“The students that start in kindergarten next year will be the first ones to travel through a seamless IB education in one location,” Keller said.
The International Baccalaureate is a non-profit educational foundation that offers international education programs to more than 4,200 schools round the world. It is an inquiry-based and transdisciplinary education with multiple subjects taught in one class period, Keller said.
He added that the school day revolves around the 10 IB attributes: inquirers, knowledge, thinkers, communication, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced, reflective.
The school is renovating 55,000 square feet of the mall space to house the upper grades and also give Sage its first library, gathering space and science labs. The estimated cost of the renovations is $3.2 million.
Sage has leased and occupied 31,000 square feet at one end of Parkcenter since August 2014, waiting for a Key Bank call center to move out of a large portion of the mall and assembling the financing to buy the property.
Sage opened in 2010 with 213 students in kindergarten to seventh grade in the Sara Lee Bakery building with 11,171 square feet. Every year since then has seen a different configuration of grades and real estate. Eighth grade was added in 2011 and each year since has added another grade, rounding out with the first 12th grade graduation of 15 students coming this spring. Sage now has 950 students with an expected 1,100 in the next two years after the fully built-out Parkcenter is completed for the fall term.