by Mayor Simison

Recently, the City Council held a joint meeting with the Board of Trustees from West Ada School District. During this meeting we discussed the impact of growth on the community.  Specifically, we discussed our schools, the City’s recently adopted Comprehensive Plan, and the importance of identifying priority growth areas so we can collaborate on where investments might be needed by our organizations.  

Having these discussions and partnerships are critical to our future successes as a community. As more and more people choose to call Meridian home, we need to be strategic as we identify and focus on where growth can or should occur. From there, we can focus our investments and resources appropriately.  Whether we are talking about roads, sidewalks, pathways, emergency services, or schools,  I whole-heartedly believe it is important to work together to be proactive, not reactive, when it comes to accommodating for our future.  

At the meeting we received updates on several new school projects that are in process. The first is Pleasant View Elementary School in North Meridian. The new elementary school is expected to be completed late summer.  In addition, Owyhee High School is under construction and expected to be completed by August 2021, with a capacity of just under 2,000 students. The new high school will provide relief to both Rocky Mountain and Eagle high schools. You can view the building’s progress in a drone video HERE.  We also heard about plans for a new location for the Idaho Fine Arts Academy as well as other needs around the District.  West Ada is considering whether it will run a bond for the capital needs of the District this May to go along with their supplemental levy that has been approved for the May 19th ballot.

This conversation comes on the heels of discussions that City Council and I have been having about the desire to have more information. Particularly, discussions regarding growth impacts on the schools as the City Council considers development applications. As decisions are being made, it is important to know more about the already approved developments and the cumulative impacts of those decisions as new applications are being considered.

For that reason, I was pleased to inform the West Ada Board that City Council recently approved a new position in our Planning Department that will work alongside West Ada reviewing new development applications.  Understanding school capacities and attendance flows due to proposed developments is a critical piece of information and will enhance communication between School District and the City leaders, allowing for better informed decisions regarding the impacts of various projects.

Overall, meetings like these help the District and City get on the same page, which is vital as Meridian continues to grow.  I look forward to continuing these types of discussions with all of our major stakeholders. Strong collaboration is key as we work together to ensure that Meridian remains the best place to live, work, and raise a family.

The joint meeting can be viewed on our YouTube channel. Simply click HERE to access it.

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