Property Type: Institutional
Neighborhood: The Bench  |  County: Ada  |  Building Status: Public  |  Architectural Style: Art Deco
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Built in the late 1940s South Junior High was one of the first schools to open its doors in Boise, Idaho. Some of the architectural significance in the school includes the original designs of the water fountains, engraved emblems in the auditorium, the furnaces that are stationed in most class rooms, as well as the distinct windows which permit the students and faculty to peer outside. Due to the facade on the front of the library and several window sets, the most prominent architectural style is art deco.
The South Junior High website has the following description: “Construction was completed in 1948 and the school campus has more than doubled since that time. Classrooms have been added to meet the needs of an ever expanding student body. In 1962 a cafeteria and three additional classrooms were added. The last addition occurred in 1972 when the Art Building was completed. Recently the entire inside of the building received a new decorating scheme with new paint. The painters and teachers were quite innovative with the designs used in the rooms and hallways. The old 1950’s look has been replaced with a more modern look.” Additionally, the school is the site of a city pool and a local park, both used extensively by the community.Several distinctive features of South Junior High are revealed from comments from community members with ties to the school. Patrick McKeegan, a local architect, commented “My understanding is that it (the SJH auditorium) was constructed to be the premier concert hall for the school district and that Boise High used it for their events. At the time I think it may have also been the largest venue for music and stage productions in town.”
Another community member who was a second generation student at South remembers students crossing the street to go to Burgerville for lunch. Despite a closed campus at the time, students enjoyed hanging out at the pink restaurant for burgers and milk shakes. Currently, the former Burgerville is now a private residence.
Recently, the SJH Builders Club, a Kiwanis affiliated club at the school, has contributed several features of note. Students have painted a mural across from the pool and planted a nice garden in front of the library and outside the band room. A nice tile mosaic is also featured in this area.
Although the historical importance of South Junior High is fascinating the soul of the school is what truly stands out. Many generations have been through South Junior High capturing the progression that has taken place. Throughout the years the school has continued to change and evolve, the present and future students will carry this and the soul into the new school while still being able to create their own history.
emolished and replaced. Next year, students and teachers will go to school in a new building that is currently being constructed next to the old one.
“Some are a little sentimental about the demolition,” says principal, Kathleen McCurdy. Many people will be sad to see the school go as they have attended the school and have experienced unforgetable memories there. However, the changes are very necessary and for the better because the building, built in 1948, is way too small. The classrooms and offices are are cramped and not apt to accomodate its growing population. It has other problems, too. For example, it is made out of concrete forcing all of the electrical wiring to be external.
The new school will have larger classrooms, a new library, and two gyms.
Kathleen McCurdy, principal and former student, told the Statesman, “We look forward to the new while reminiscing about the old.”
Former attendants of South junior High won’t have a physical memorial of their junior high years, but now, new generations of junior high students will be able to continue their academic careers in a nicer building that will one day hold new memories and a history of its own.