Lowell Elementary was first opened in 1913. It was named after James Russell Lowell (1819-1891), an American poet. While the school had two stories, only the first floor was used, due to the top floor not being finished. It wasn’t until 1916 that the top floor was opened for students. Ten years later, a new unit was constructed. This added an auditorium and four classrooms to the school. Another unit was completed in 1947, giving the school a gymnasium, a library, and eight new classrooms.
Although the additions may not have been part of the original plan for the school, it was built for easy expansion. Lowell Elementary was built with its sides unfinished, allowing improvements and additions. This plan is known as the unit plan, and Lowell Elementary was one of the first buildings in Boise to be designed this way. This plan was made with the thought of population growth in mind. Because of Lowell’s versatility, it almost became a junior high in the 1930’s. Instead, North Junior High was built in 1936.
The popular Art Deco style can be seen in the 1947 addition as well as Municipal Pool, which was finished in 1953. These two additions reflect the time period of which they were built.