Before Boise High School, the Treasure Valley was serviced by Central High School. Opened in 1882, it cost $44,000 instead of the originally estimated sum of $25,000. Because of the cost and the fact that it was considered an overly large structure, the Central High School Board was criticized. Ironically, only a decade later 700 children overcrowded the school. Central High School was the only high school in the Idaho Territory. The high school students were placed in the top floor, while the primary, intermediate, and grammar pupils studied in the basement and the next two floors. The first graduating class of 1884 was composed of two students – Tom G. Hailey and Henry Johnson. The next year two female students and two male students graduated. In 1900, the number had expanded to 23 graduates.
The new high school which replaced Central School was dubbed “Boise High School.” It was not the well-known white brick building present today. It was a traditional red brick, typical of the time period. The cornerstone was laid in 1902. A pageant with 1,200 students, as many adults, and three volleys from the cadet corps marked the joyous ceremony. Mayor Moses Alexander stated Boise High School was “where the rich and the poor meet on terms of equality”
The Boise High building that stands today was constructed in three phases and was designed by architects of the Idaho Capitol and Immanuel M.E. Church, Tourtellotte and Hummel. The east wing was constructed in 1908. It housed classes for male students. The Idaho Statesman reported: “In one wing was to be located the manual training, agriculture and work of that character which is generally taken up by boys and in the opposite wing was to be located the domestic science and those portions of manual training that usually are taken up by girls. In addition to the above there are the regular study rooms and class rooms, laboratories, etc.
In 1995 a bond measure was passed that funded Timberline High as well as a massive renovation of Boise High School. The building process included razing three structures and vacating a city street started the project. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility improvements were made. An art gallery was created and a complete auditorium restoration was done. The third floor was closed off and air conditioning was installed building wide. Many other improvements were made. The Frank Church Building of Technology, named after Idaho’s U.S. Senator and 1942 Boise High graduate, was also completed.
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