An empty lot in southeast Boise will soon be much more — the home of Dallas Harris Elementary School.
The new facility is years in the making, with funding stemming from a $172.5 million bond approved by Boise voters in 2017 with 86% majority support. Six years later, the Boise School District is looking to open the Dallas Harris Elementary School in fall 2023.
Once operational, the new school will be the first addition to the district since 2008.
According to district documents, the new three-story building features a terrace for outdoor learning, a media and music center and a village green area.
“(The outdoor terrace) can be shared across all of the classrooms, and it can also be used as a core learning space if desired,” said Kelly Mabry, an architect. “It allows everybody involved in the school students staff to teach and be engaged with fresh air outdoor space throughout their learning day.”
BSD Supervisor Lanette Daw said the school could accommodate up to 500 students. Daw said the district is anticipating 380 students will be enrolled in 2023. Dallas Harris Elementary school will serve students from kindergarten through sixth grade.
On Monday, Boise trustees set the school’s boundary lines for enrollment. According to board documents, the area would cover almost all of Barber Valley north of the river – including the Harris Ranch subdivision.
Officials said it would reduce overcrowding in nearby schools while supporting the rapidly developing region.
“It’s a new, growing area,” Daw said. “What we found through working with the city of Boise and information provided to Barber Valley Neighborhood Association is that the area is 70% built out.”
The Dallas Harris family donated approximately three acres, valued at about $2 million, to BSD for the project — hence the school’s name, Dallas Harris Elementary.
Harris was a rancher and landowner who helped create the master plan to develop southeast Boise – including Harris Ranch. He died in 1999.
“Our family was committed to donating to a school site to the Boise School in honor of both our parents from day one,” Harris’ daughter Millie Davis said. “It’s good for the kids and community, and what dad wanted.”