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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of December 17 - 23, 2003


Old high school
gets overhaul

Community campus becomes
cooperative experiment

Express Staff Writer

People working on the development of the Community Campus in Hailey are excited to have a raw template for experiment.

"We have a new toy with all kinds of ways to play with it," said College of Southern Idaho Hailey campus director Joan Davies. "It’s exciting times."

CSI was one of the first new tenants to take over space in the old Wood River High School. Other partners in the development of the campus include the Blaine County Recreation District and the school district, which retains ownership of the property and will expand the school’s academies.

Substantial work like the construction of the Rec District sponsored Youth Activity Center or HUB is already under way. The City of Hailey gave the go ahead for conditional use of the building in October.

Each of the groups outfitting space has free rein, said Susie Wrentmore, Blaine County Rec District community services director. But, as green and orange walls are painted and battered lockers are removed to make room for lounge space, there is a method to plans of the loose affiliation of community organizations.

"We will be meeting as a collective community organization to keep our wrinkles straight," Davies said.

It is not yet clear how building administration will be organized, but leases or a joint powers agreement will be drawn up with the school district. The Rec District has offered to help with scheduling space, said Mary Austin Crofts, Rec District executive director.

"We’ve gotten a lot of calls from people looking for space," Wrentmore said. "We’re packed."

The Rec District will move its offices to the campus permanently in February. The Hailey-based Wood River Gymnastics will finally find a permanent home and room for athletes to practice "giants" on the high bar.

Between gymnastics, the Rec District, CSI, The Senior Connection’s Internet cafe, Head Start, the Wood River High School academies and Foot Light Dance, which will also have a new permanent home, most of the space in the building has been spoken for.

Wrentmore said an enterprising group could still tackle redoing the men’s locker room space, which is fairly large and mirrors the adjacent women’s locker room. "The concrete walls could be removed," she said.

For now most groups are still fundraising and planning.

"There needs to be some change to turn (the campus) into what it needs to be," Crofts said. "You kind of have to use your imagination. We’re really excited about the possibilities, but it is going to take a while . . ."

The Senior Connection plans to take over the cafeteria and set up an Internet cafe in the old high school commons area. Plans for the cafe involve students and seniors working together. The proceeds will go to help fund activities for seniors.

The old library space is being renovated as a technology center for CSI classes and a large classroom has been outfitted with acoustic materials and microwave technology for off-site education. CSI and the high school academies will maintain an academic component of programming at the facility, but there will also be video games and an entertainment lounge in the HUB.

Largely paid for out of the Rec District budget, the $100,400 contract to renovate the HUB space is being completed by Brashears & Sons of Hailey.

"Youth were involved in every step of the process," Wrentmore said. "It’s their dream."

Architect Carolyn Wicklund is donating her time to carry out the design students helped her develop. Although the Rec District is busy helping people get projects funded and completed at the campus, there is still room for more help.

The Rec District will be organizing fundraising visits of the facility called "Dream Tours" twice monthly beginning in January.

"If people get an understanding of what we’re trying to do they can see the dream and jump on board," Wrentmore said. "What an opportunity for youth and seniors to get together."



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