RUPERT • Minidoka County school officials showcased Thursday a new service center that brings classrooms, staff for several programs and district business and administrative offices under one roof.
Minidoka County School District’s new service center on Rupert’s 10th Street is so far a $250,000 remodel of the old Memorial Elementary School building, with a total of $400,000 in improvements planned. District officials say it’s a key step in a multi-year consolidation of 16 district sites down to 12.
“This helps us focus on what’s important,” district Superintendent Scott Rogers said. “In the district office we tend to get a little removed from what it is that we really do. When we have kids in the building it reminds us why we’re in business.”
The new facility houses 55 permanent staff, along with about a dozen more who come and go, said secretary Patricia Knoblauch. That’s up from the nine staff who reported to the former Fremont Street district office on a daily basis.
The service center includes four preschool classrooms and four classes of day treatment for children who face learning challenges. It also houses the district’s gifted and talented, special needs and federal programs, along with the Minidoka Virtual Academy and technology department.
“This is so nice,” said Sandra Miller, director of federal programs.
Miller’s secretaries moved into the new center before she did, working around construction for months.
The move was accomplished in steps that included selling the old Acequia Elementary School and moving the district’s alternative school, Mount Harrison High School, from the current service center site to the south campus of the former Heyburn Elementary School last year.
The center also includes computer stations for parents to use who do not own their own computers.
“It’s nice to have all these programs in one building,” said Heyburn resident Kimberly Santos.
Michelle DeLuna, district business manager and treasurer, said $95,000 of the remodel was funded by the sale of Acequia Elementary. General funds and plant facilities funding also paid for work done so far.
“This is the first time I’ve got to tour the building,” said district Trustee Mark Sanderson. “I’m really impressed. This is going to be well utilized.”