Tuesday, April 30, 2019


In the 1980's and 1990's, southeast Boise became the hub of growth in our city, and the former dairy and lumber center became subdivisions with names like Lakewood, Spring Meadow, River Run, and Columbia Village. 

As the growth continued, the original southeast Boise elementary schools, Campus (constructed 1953, sold to Boise State in 1990) and Garfield (1927) became overcrowded. 

Campus School at Boise State                             Garfield School, Boise Avenue and Broadway

Liberty School, just off Bergeson Street on Law, opened in 1984, and almost immediately was at capacity. By 1990, when White Pine Elementary opened, Liberty hosted over 1,000 southeast Boise students.

Liberty School

The architecture of Liberty was copied with minor revisions for a number of new schools built in the late twentieth century, including White Pine, and Cynthia Mann (1990). Riverside, (1992) and Horizon (1992).

As growth in the area continued to accelerate, Les Bois Junior High School was built in 1994 on the same plot of land as White Pine, and then converted into Timberline High School four years later, with a new Les Bois constructed in the Columbia Village subdivision near Micron Technology. The District also opened Trail Wind Elementary nearby in 1998, as the District's student enrollment crested 27,000 students for the first (and only, to this date) time.

Les Bois JH In Columbia Village                       Timberline HS (former  Les Bois JH) on Boise Ave

Elementary Schools

And then, as quickly as it grew, the District's student population began to decline, as significant numbers of Boise patrons moved west, to Meridian initially, and then to Kuna, Nampa, and Caldwell.

Southeast Boise's schools were among the most impacted in the District, and Liberty, White Pine, and Riverside, which were overflowing with enrollment just a few years earlier, were under-enrolled by the mid 2000's. Since then, enrollment at Liberty and White Pine has stabilized and grown a bit, and Riverside's enrollment is moving back toward its high point, as residential construction in Harris Ranch has taken off.

Junior High Schools

After a successful 2007 bond issue and a land deal with BSU, East Junior High was torn down and replaced by a new East in 2009.

Former East JH (1953) on Warm Springs.                    New East JH (2009) in Harris Ranch area

You can see the same enrollment pattern a few years later at Les Bois,

and at East.

As you can see, enrollment has recovered at both junior highs, after steep declines in the first decade of the new millennium. Projections show that southeast Boise junior high enrolment will likely stabilize in the next few years.

Timberline High School

The new wing opened this fall at Timberline has been put to good use, and Timberline's enrollment is still growing.

Timberline's enrollment is projected to grow to almost 1,500 students in the next few years, as the next few classes from East and Les Bois enter the school. 

Just a few years ago, Timberline and Meridian were the smallest 5A schools in the Southern Idaho Conference. Since then, enrollment at both schools has grown substantially, Skyview has become a 5A school, and Capital's enrollment has declined slightly.

Rocky Mountain and Mountain View in the West Ada District remain the largest schools in the conference, and even with the addition of the new Owyhee High School in a few years, West Ada's continued growth will assure large 5A schools.

As an aside, Skyview's status as a 5A school is interesting. There are now 3 4A schools that are larger than Skyview: Kuna (1176), Caldwell (1085), and Nampa (1078). While Skyview has seen some growth in the past few years, so have Caldwell and Kuna, and Vallivue, Ridgevue, and Middleton (all 4A schools) are growing rapidly as well.

Timberline's growth will put the school in the middle of the SIC pack in a couple of years, and could mean that the high school will become the largest of Boise's high schools.

The challenge for Boise District administrators and trustees will be planning for the anticipated growth in south Boise east of Cole Road, along the east Lake Hazel Road extension to Orchard Street, which could feature as many as 2,000 family residences in the next few years. 

For this post, we used 10-12 enrollment, since that's the configuration of Boise's high schools. The other SIC high schools are 9-12. The Idaho High School Activities Association uses 9-12 enrollment for classification purposes.