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BURLEY — Community fundraising and donations went into supplying and installing a new sprinkler system and sod at Raft River High School, and a Burley student raised $7,000 for new sod at John Evans Elementary and new outside benches.

The sod at Evans elementary was installed on Wednesday and the Malta project was completed during a sod party using student labor at the high school on Oct. 19.

“We have been in the dirt and mud for so long, it’s really pretty,” said Ilene Reed, a teacher at the school. “The kids are amazing. They turned it into a fun project.”

The sprinkler and grass project was spearheaded by Janis Warr of Malta.

Because construction is still underway, the grass project at the front of the school will have to wait until spring.

Raft River High School Principal Eric Boden said the community raised about $7,000 for the sod and sprinklers.

 Raft River Sod company donated the sod at cost, which ran $6,000, she said.

“She was able to mobilize the community around her,” said Debbie Critchfield, Cassia County School District spokeswoman. “That is the magic and beauty of small towns.”

The school is weeks away from moving students back into the remodeled portion of the building.

“The final touches of grass really make it look completed,” Critchfield said.

There are some projects that were not completed at the school, like ADA-compliant restrooms on the football field and gym floor in the preexisting gym was not finished.

Boden said $11,000 has been raised for the new sound system in the auditorium.

Schools in Oakley, Declo and the new John Evans Elementary will also be left with unfinished projects, Critchfield said.

Brian and Lisa Muir’s son Tyler Muir, 13, raised $7,000 to put in new sod and buy outside benches at John Evans Elementary as his Boy Scout eagle project.

The sod was installed by Muir and his scout group and community volunteers on Wednesday and cost $5,000, Brian Muir said, the remainder of the money will go towards benches.

Muir raised the money by asking for donations from businesses and through Facebook.

Critchfield said a patron’s committee is working on recommendations on how to address the uncompleted projects from the 2015 construction bond, which will be presented to the district’s board.

Another committee is working on new attendance zones for elementary students in Burley.

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Critchfield said the district should be able to tell parents where their elementary-age children will attend school, where Burley elementary teachers will be assigned and the designs should be ready for the Mountain View Elementary School remodel in December.

Critchfield said the board reconfirmed its plans to move forward with the full $3.1 million remodel at Mountain View. Work is scheduled to start in January.

A new heating system boiler will be replaced at Dworshak Elementary School, which will be the last bond project this summer.

The district is also working on the shift to K-6 schools in Burley.

“There are some logistical things that need to happen,” Critchfield said.

Some of the needs will include smaller desks and chairs at White Pine, which now house only fourth, fifth and sixth grades and enough library books for all the schools.

The district is accepting donations of new and gently-used books, Critchfield said.

“It may appear in the community that we’re not taking any action,” Critchfield said, “but a lot is going on behind the scenes right now.”


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