Boise Schools ready to sell Cole school property

Boise Schools ready to sell Cole school property

By Bill Roberts

Eight acres that once were home to Boise’s historic Cole Elementary School is going on the market.

Cole Elementary School was torn down in 2009 as part of a plan to make the property easier to sell.

Cole Elementary School was torn down in 2009 as part of a plan to make the property easier to sell.

Proceeds from a sale of the property at Cole Road and Fairview Avenue will go to complete infrastructure upgrades at Borah and Capital high schools that were part of a district school-building improvement program approved by voters in 2006.

Prospective buyers can submit sealed bids over two months beginning Sept. 1.

After bids are opened, the district will order an appraisal on the land. If the bid meets the appraisal, district officials would proceed with the sale, said Michael Ballantyne, managing partner with Thornton Oliver Keller, a commercial real estate agency assisting the district in the sale.

Cole Elementary last classes were held in 2008-2009.

As the real estate market collapsed during the recession, however, land values plummeted and the district decided not to sell the property.

Now values are rising. In the area around the Cole site values have have reached pre-recession levels, Ballantyne said.

No assessed value for the district-owned site is listed at the Ada County assessor’s office.

The property is best suited for commercial development, officials say. Uses might include office space for doctors or lawyers. Parts of the property also may be suited for medium- or high-density residential housing or, possibly, a senior citizen housing project for aging baby boomers, Ballantyne said.

Sale of the Cole property is the last piece of a wide-ranging project Boise School District undertook nearly eight years ago to upgrade aging school building and replace some schools with new ones.

Voters approved a $94 million bond to launch improvements and the district said it would take proceeds from the sales of the old West Junior High on Curtis Road  near Saint Alphonsus Medical Center, Mountain Cove High School, and the Cole property to complete the project.

The District sold the West property in 2008 to Hawkins Companies commercial developers. Mountain Cove High School near the Veterans Medical Center was purchased by the Veterans Administration in 2009.

Here are some of the ways money raised by the Cole sale would be used:

Capital High: Refurbish auditorium seats; install fire-suppressing sprinklers in classrooms; upgrade boys and girls locker rooms; upgrade heating, ventilation and air conditioning in second floor classroom.

Borah High: Improve flooring; upgrade heating and air conditioning in the cafeteria and gym; put a new roof on the school; upgrade lighting in corridors.

If Cole doesn’t sell, the district would continue working on the school improvement projects, but at a slower pace.

Posted in In The Classroom