Building Hope’s Second Partnership With Alturas Transforms Former Sears Building Into International Baccalaureate World School

Building Hope’s Second Partnership With Alturas Transforms Former Sears Building Into International Baccalaureate World School

New Idaho Falls Charter Secondary School to Hold Open House Aug. 25

WASHINGTON, D.C. AND IDAHO FALLS, ID (AUG. 23, 2021) – Building Hope – a non-profit foundation dedicated to identifying and financing viable facilities so that all students have access to a quality K-12 education – and Alturas Preparatory Academy (APA) – a new International Baccalaureate World School in Idaho Falls – today announced a public open house Wednesday, Aug. 25, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Idaho Falls.

With the help of Building Hope, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing facilities, financing and services to charter schools so more students have access to quality K-12 education, APA was able to transform the former Sears building at 2280 E. 17th Street for its facilities. The new school building, which is adjacent to the Grand Teton Mall, will be open to the public for the first time at the ribbon cutting and open house event on Aug. 25.

The school will serve 6th through 10th grades when it opens for the upcoming school year on Aug. 30 and will add 11th and 12th grades in subsequent years. APA will follow the same model that its sister school, Alturas International Academy (AIA), has used in its K-8 school since opening in 2016. Students are taught in small groups according to their instructional levels, rather than large lectures according to grade level.

APA will seek authorization as an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School for the Diploma and Career-Related Programs. AIA is authorized for the International Baccalaureate Program for the Primary Years and APA is authorized for 6th through 10th grades in the IB Middle Years Program. The IB high school curriculum focuses on critical thinking and community and global stewardship. AIA and APA are currently the only authorized IB World School in Eastern Idaho.

Alturas leadership, with the help of Building Hope, selected the 73,000-square-foot former Sears building for its price, central location and proximity to the College of Eastern Idaho. Building Hope also partnered with Alturas and the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation to purchase and renovate its AIA campus, which is located in the former O.E. Bell Building on Ridge Avenue.

“We are proud to partner with Alturas again as it expands to offer more opportunities for students in Idaho,” said Building Hope Real Estate President Dru Damico. “This project gives new life to an existing building that will be an asset for the entire Idaho Falls community.”

The leadership of Alturas Prep will continue with Michelle Ball as the Executive Director for both APA and AIA and Brian Bingham, the former principal of AIA, will serve as APA’s principal.

Alturas has been working with Pocatello-based Pro Builders. APA houses 30 classrooms, science labs, common areas, an art room, drama room, music room, gym, wide hallways, abundant natural light and an outdoor recreation area. In a unique twist, each classroom features large overhead doors – in addition to regular man doors – that allow the rooms to open into larger collaborative spaces. The school is completely closed off from the mall.

APA is open to any student living in the boundaries of Idaho Falls School District #91, Bonneville School District #93, or Shelley School District #60, or by application. There is no charge for admission. Enrollment will be determined by a lottery system, with priority given to APA students and their siblings. No preference is given for academic performance and/or financial resources. The school will begin the academic year with 302 students and 168 on the waitlist.

APA received state approval at a meeting in August 2020. Upon receiving state approval, the new school was awarded a grant from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation to help fund the purchase and renovation of the building.

Representatives from Building Hope, the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation, and Bluum, an Idaho nonprofit that supports charter schools and has awarded grant money to both APA and AIA, will attend the open house.

For more information about how Building Hope helps charter schools nationwide with facilities, financing, and operational services, visit


About Alturas Preparatory Academy

Alturas Preparatory Academy promotes academic distinction, while empowering students to be principled and intellectual leaders as they explore, create, investigate and analyze in a safe, engaged, collaborative environment that inspires them to make a genuine difference in their local and global community. Relevant learning opportunities for high-quality education through community partnerships and engagement helps students develop attitudes and knowledge to succeed in a technologically advanced world.


About Building Hope

Building Hope is a non-profit foundation created to support education and public charter schools. Since 2003, Building Hope’s purpose has been to identify and finance viable facilities so that all students have access to a quality K-12 education. Building Hope has grown the capacity of charter schools nationwide by providing facilities, financial, and operational services so that schools can focus on and devote more resources to educating students in underserved communities. Building Hope has supported 300 charter school projects and 150,000 students in 20 states and the District of Columbia, by providing more than $363 million in direct loans, credit enhancements, and equity investments to support $1.9 billion in school construction.


Martha Holler

ShinePR for Building Hope |