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The Salmon City Council is drafting a letter of support for finding a way to build a new multi-use school facility. The support request was presented to the February 18 council meeting by Jim Bob Infanger who said a facility building campaign is underway.

Infanger told the council he has lost two good employees in the past five years due to the level of Salmon school facilities. He said even a bare-bones metal auxiliary building would be a good start and he offered his Ray’s Heating employees to help build it.

Infanger called current conditions at the High School chaotic with no Physical Education classes for the Junior High School students, no athletics and very little in terms of drama or music. He said at present there are 22 seniors who are on the non-graduation schedule and attributed that to the tough learning environment. He said he knows of one person working here who is actually commuting back and forth to Boise because he and his wife don’t want their children in Salmon Schools. He said Salmon is a safe place but way below par when it comes to local educational opportunities.

He said the School Board is trying its best. There is still some money from the sale of the Brooklyn School to the county and the district is offering to sell the softball diamond property between the propane tank and hospital. There are also 40 acres next to the cemetery that will be going on the market as well as some donated property in the Williams Creek area. It is hoped there will be some money from selling the old Junior High School building.

Infanger said those interested in the project want to construct a building on the north side of the High School parking lot. His research shows that at $25 per square foot, a shell could be built for from $400-$500,000. Additional monies would have to be found to finish the interior.

Finding the funding was the basis of his second request to the council. Infanger asked if the city could donate some of City Community Development Director Mary Cerise’s time to a search for funding. He said he has met with her and she thinks there is a good chance for grants especially with all the excellent grant writers in the area. Focusing and coordinating those writers towards the building goal would be part of the job that needs to be done.

Some council members voiced support of the building goal but were hesitant to commit Cerise’s time to the project without first checking her work load priorities. Councilman Rob Jackson said he is excited to hear someone is working towards a new facility. He said it would be a great thing and that middle school opportunities are really needed. From personal experience, Councilman Russ Chinske said a facility is “absolutely needed. There’s no doubt about it, we need the space.” His recommendation was for a facility that could continue to be expanded over time.

Councilman Fred Waidely thought the first step should be to talk with Cerise about her schedule.

It was decided that Mayor Leo Marshall and Cerise will discuss the current work priorities before the council makes any decision about whether or not to donate her time to the project. The motion to write a letter of support for the project passed unanimously.

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