KIMBERLY — The Kimberly School District is buying 2.4 acres of agricultural land, but it could be 25 years before it’s used for a school expansion project.
School trustees voted Wednesday to sign a purchase and sales agreement. The district will spend $165,000 on the land, which is just south of the middle and high school campuses.
School leaders are planning well into the future for any school expansion projects they may need to pursue as part of a long-term facilities plan.
But in the meantime, it plans to explore whether FFA students can use the land for projects such as raising animals.
“We all know that plans change, but the board felt it’s in our best interest to acquire ground because you can always sell or do a land swap,” Superintendent Luke Schroeder said Friday.
The school district is buying the land from Richard and Harriette Hale. Money for the purchase will come from a 10-year voter-approved plant facilities levy, which provides $300,000 per year for school district facility needs.
The property is accessible from Emerald Drive, and includes a house, barn, corrals and outbuildings. It’s within 100 yards of the school campuses, separated only by one residential lot.
In the short term, Schroeder said, he’d like to look into whether FFA students could use the land.
It would allow students to work with animals and give them real life agricultural experiences.
“We have a number of kids that are taking projects, but they don’t have property to house those projects,” he said.
Recent Kimberly High graduate Kaylie Stastny, 18, was in FFA all four years of high school. She said Friday she loves the idea of allowing FFA students to use the land, calling it “so awesome.”
She raises pigs at home, but said having land available would give similar opportunities to students who live within the city limits and can’t have farm animals.
“I know that raising animals in FFA is a huge thing when you’re able to learn a lot and are really able to grow,” she said.
Statsny is heading off to Brigham Young University-Idaho this fall, where she’s considering studying elementary education.
New elementary school
In addition to buying land, the Kimberly School District has another big project in the works: building a new elementary school.
Construction started this spring on the approximately $10.7 million project.
“Construction is going full board ahead,” Schroeder said. “We’re currently on budget. We’re currently on time.”
Construction crews have nearly finished the building’s foundation, poured about half the floors, are putting up walls in the gymnasium and framing walls for the classroom wings.
The 50,000-square-foot elementary school — slated for completion in June 2018 — will help alleviate overcrowding. Then, remodeling will begin on the existing elementary school.
The new 10-acre campus is at the corner of Polk Street West and Emerald Drive North, east of Ballards Way subdivision. It’s paid for using a $14 million bond voters approved in May 2016.