KIMBERLY — Brenda Gil, a radiology technician at St. Luke’s Magic Valley, has lived in Kimberly for 11 years. She has two daughters: a 12-year-old and 9-year-old.
When she and her husband were searching for a house more than a decade ago, Gil was willing to look anywhere in the greater Twin Falls area. But her husband preferred Kimberly because it was outside of the city but also close to stores and medical care in Twin Falls.
Many of Gil’s coworkers at St. Luke’s also live in Kimberly.
“It’s close access to our jobs, but you’re still out of Twin a little ways,” Gil said, adding that it’s a safe place to live, with minimal traffic.
As more business and medical professionals like Gil move their families into Kimberly, the school district drastically defies regional and statewide demographic trends.
Just 32 percent of students receive free or reduced-price school lunches — significantly lower than most neighboring towns. In total, 57.5 percent of south-central Idaho students receive free or reduced lunches.
Across south-central Idaho, English language learners make up 11 percent of the student body. At Kimberly, they make up just 4 percent.
“Kimberly is not typical for the Magic Valley,” said Luke Schroeder, superintendent of the Kimberly School District.
Many upper-middle class professionals who work in Twin Falls have settled into Kimberly, Schroeder said, including those in the medical field, business executives, lawyers and entrepreneurs.
“That’s the demographic we’re drawing as of late,” Schroeder said.
St. Luke’s Health System physician recruiter Tracey Duncan and St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center recruiter Julie Leguineche say medical providers definitely look at Kimberly as an option of where to live, but also consider other areas of the Magic Valley just as closely.
St. Luke’s Magic Valley aims to hire an average of 20 providers each year. That includes physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners.
It’s up to new providers to explore the Twin Falls area to determine which community would be a good fit for them, Duncan said.
“They kind of get to see everything and see what’s the best fit for their family,” Duncan said.
St. Luke’s recruiters meet with each provider before they move to the area to help ease the moving process. They sometimes connect them with local school districts for more information about educational options. Several area realtors collaborate with St. Luke’s as community tour guides.
“We’ve noticed a lot of growth, but it’s a lot of residential growth,” Gil said. “When we were settled that we were going to buy a house in Kimberly, that’s when I started hearing Kimberly School District is a really good one.”