Charter High School - Sandpoint
The original Sandpoint Charter School used the property, a vacant 2-acre site, as a recreation field. As the school grew, it became apparent that there was a need for more space to develop the charter’s high school program. The school planned on utilizing the undeveloped site to build a new high school, but there was concern about potential environmental impacts from near and adjacent properties with known environmental concerns such as underground storage tanks, a leaking underground storage tank site, and a nearby auto body shop.
The proximity of the existing charter school, along with the school’s need to expand, provided the perfect opportunity to redevelop the land into a charter high school. By building the high school adjacent to the charter middle school, the schools would be able to better utilize staff and create a campus-like community amongst the students. The plan for the development of the charter high school also set a precedent locally for cost-effective and sustainable design, while working in tandem with a new comprehensive plan adopted by the City of Sandpoint.
The City of Sandpoint worked with the design team and the school to ensure the success of this project and to achieve LEED Silver certification status. A conditional use permit was required to place a school on this property and subjected the project to go before the Sandpoint City Council and Planning and Zoning Commission. Both public entities unanimously supported the school’s proposal and commended the efforts to bring a sustainable project into Sandpoint. However, city leaders and school officials felt it prudent to conduct a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment for the property to rule out any potential environmental concerns. School officials requested that DEQ’s Brownfields Response Program conduct the assessment because they felt, in their words, that “It is our job to not only speculate but rather ensure that the children of our community have a healthy learning environment.”
Sandpoint Charter High School construction site
Site Activities and Development
The Phase I assessment revealed that site conditions were suitable for the construction of the high school. In September 2010, the Sandpoint Charter School expanded with the opening of its $3.3 million, 20,000-square-foot high school on the subject property. The expansion was paid for with a $2.2 million loan from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) in combination with Mountain West Bank, $133,000 in grant money, an additional $100,000 grant from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation, and additional private donations totalling nearly $800,000.
The school created 22 short-term construction jobs, and 23 long-term, consisting of 18 teachers, a principal, and four support staff. The Sandpoint Charter School was awarded LEED Silver certification in February 2011.
Sandpoint Charter High School exterior
Sandpoint Charter High School interior