New School Year, New Building At Boise's Amity Elementary

Aug 21, 2018

The new Amity Elementary School building is a far cry from its predecessor. The facility is above ground, features lots of windows and does not have a perennially leaking, earth-covered roof.
Credit Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

The more than 500 students who attend Amity Elementary started the school year in a new, above ground building. That might not sound like a big deal, but Amity was known for its subterranean structure.


The original Amity opened in 1979 and was hailed as an architectural wonder when it debuted with a soil-covered roof. After nearly 40 years of dutiful service, the building was showing its age: the lack of natural light and habitually leaking ceiling – mostly the ceiling – presented unending headaches for Amity faculty and administrators.

The Statesman reports the new campus is the result of a voter-approved ballot initiative that passed in 2017. The $172 million bond provides funds for updating school facilities – including the rebuilt Amity.

The original Amity building was mostly submerged under thick outer walls of soil and grass.
Credit Matt Guilhem / Boise State Public Radio

The new building features bigger classrooms, spaces for the performing arts and a variety of murals splashed across the hallways of the school. Student safety is also at the forefront of the building. Nearly all of the doors in the facility require keycard access and school officials can lockdown the campus with the push of a button.

As students and teachers settle into the new Amity Elementary, the old sunken building is in the process of being demolished next door.

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