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Filer High FFA

Brian Wolf is seen in November 2015 surrounded by FFA awards in his office at Filer High School.

FILER — The Filer School District wants to bring a bond for facility projects — likely for somewhere between $9.5 million and $9.9 million — to voters in March 2019.

The Filer school board voted July 30 to approve a recommendation from the school district’s long-range facilities planning committee, which is made up of community members.

The group spent more than a year mapping out school facility needs for the next 20 years and coming up with a proposal for how to address them.

“It really is a community plan,” Superintendent John Graham said Wednesday. “It’s not just addressing immediate needs, but it’s a 20-year plan.”

Julie Koyle and Jim Hughes, co-chairs of the facilities committee, weren’t available to comment by deadline Wednesday.

If the bond — which requires a two-thirds supermajority to pass — is approved by voters, it would pay for building a second career-technical education building at Filer High School, adding eight classrooms at Filer Intermediate School, improving the parking area and traffic flow at Filer Elementary School, and replacing seats and lighting at Filer Middle School’s auditorium.

The exact dollar amount for the bond hasn’t been determined yet.

Other projects could happen in the future — including a new auditorium and new gymnasium at Filer High, depending on funding — according to the school district’s 20-year facilities plan, developed by the facilities planning committee. And within three to five years, the school district may pursue a bond to replace the aging Filer Middle School.

The Filer School District has more than 1,600 students. Over the last decade, it has averaged about 3 percent growth each year.

Filer isn’t alone in seeing a growth trend. Many south-central Idaho school districts are also seeing an enrollment uptick. The Twin Falls, Cassia County and Kimberly school districts have opened new campuses within the last few years.

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As for Filer’s facility needs, Filer High has a very strong FFA program that attracts students from outside of the community, Graham said. A new career-technical education building — in addition to the one that’s already standing — would double the available space for programs like FFA.

At Filer Intermediate School, bond money would pay for four additional classrooms for each wing of the building, for a total of eight.

About a decade ago, the bulk of Filer’s enrollment growth was happening at the elementary school level. The district built Filer Intermediate School, which serves fourth through sixth graders.

There were empty classrooms when the building opened, Graham said, but all of them are full now.

At Filer Elementary School, bond money would be used to revamp and expand the parking lot and improve traffic flow. That could possibly include drop-off and pick-up areas.

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