BLACKFOOT, ID (Feb. 1, 2023) — For years, students, parents, staff, faculty and visitors to Blackfoot Charter Community Learning Center needed a car to get between the school’s elementary school and middle school.
That four-mile gap is now closed. Everyone is under one roof for the first time in the school’s 23-year history thanks to the opening of a 53,000-square foot facility located at 92 N 415 W in Blackfoot.
Blackfoot Mayor Marc Carroll and BCCLC School Director Craig Gerard celebrated the K-8 school opening at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Jan. 27.
The $15 million campus came to life with assistance from Building Hope, a non-profit foundation dedicated to creating high-quality charter school opportunities for students through its expertise in real estate, finance and operational services.
It replaces two separate campuses that housed BCCLC’s 375 students, but were located four miles apart. Students in grades K-4 attended classes at a facility with seven portable classrooms, while students in grades 5-8 were four miles away, learning at an office space in a strip mall.
“This school is going to make a huge difference for everyone in our community,” Gerard said. “The thing that really stands out is the security it provides our students. No more having to worry about dodging cars in the strip mall location. No more worries about sketchy fences that surrounded our other facility. This is a safe, secure place for our children to come and learn.”
The new campus may be an even bigger hit with staff and faculty. They no longer have to drive back-and-forth between campuses to take care of their responsibilities.
“Having everyone on the staff under one roof and being able to use their labor more appropriately, is another huge benefit,” Gerard said.
Students started classes in the new facility on Jan. 16. Not surprisingly, the upgrades they noticed first were technology improvements, a new cafeteria and, for the first time in the school’s history, a gymnasium.
“We are working on implementing a child nutrition program so having our own kitchen and cafeteria to work from, is a big plus,” Gerard said. “And with a gym, we’ll be able to hold P.E. classes for all grades for the first time and have a chance to participate in Charter School Athletic games. The kids are all very excited about that.”
Word about the new school is spreading quickly in the community. BCCLC added 11 new students the first week after classes started Jan. 16. The school now has room to accommodate 300 more students.
Gerard credited Building Hope with pushing the project through all the obstacles that new construction presents.
“Building Hope really led the way from start-to-finish,” Gerard said. “They got us through the bonding process; they did all the project management; they coordinated with the contractors; filed all the permits … they really took care of everything. We couldn’t have gotten to this point without them.”
“This new, state-of-the-art facility is set up for Blackfoot’s distinctive and successful educational model that includes small instruction groups, high teacher collaboration, and interactive technology,” said Brady Hutchins, Director of Construction Management, Building Hope. “We are delighted that Blackfoot now has the infrastructure it needs to have an even greater impact in the community.”
About Building Hope
Building Hope is a national non-profit that empowers sustainable advancements in education through our work with charter schools providing unparalleled facility financing, real estate development, and operational services. We believe a facility should never be the barrier preventing a child from attending a great school. During our 20-year history, Building Hope has invested $482 million in high-impact charter schools serving nearly 200,000 children.