With the possibility of the Challis Middle School property, including the auditorium and gym, being sold by the school district, some people who have a history with the place say there needs to be a replacement plan.
Even though she didn’t attend classes in the middle school, Shyla Knox of Challis said the place played a big part in her life, particularly the auditorium.
After she graduated from high school Knox became part of Outlaw Theater. That Challis community theater group put on plays in the middle school auditorium for several years. Because of the good times she had in the “absolutely beautiful” middle school auditorium, Knox now worries selling the building will take that positive environment away from the community.
School board members are considering selling the middle school after officials with Boyd Watterson Asset Management in Columbus, Ohio, reached out to them in August about purchasing the main school building. The real estate company said it intends to continue leasing space in the building to the Bureau of Land Management.
Even though Boyd Watterson officials specifically inquired about the middle school building, Superintendent Lani Rembelski said it would be simpler to sell the entire three-block property, which includes the gym.
Brityn Smith, the Challis music teacher who’s organizing a band and choir performance in the auditorium for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 15, shared Knox’s feelings. “It’s a wonderful part of our community,” Smith said of the auditorium. “If they sell it, my hope is that they replace it with something of equal value.”
Rembelski said the leading option to replace the gym and auditorium would be to build a new wing on the back of the high school near the track and football field. But to make that happen, she said, the district must make enough money from selling the middle school property needs to pay for the new wing.
“This is all very, very preliminary,” Rembelski said, Because no decisions have been made, she and Challis High School Principal Tyler Gaston wouldn’t comment on how selling the property might affect the junior high basketball and volleyball games played in the middle school gym. Gaston said because he’s still adjusting to the job he started this year he doesn’t feel qualified to speak on any issue related to selling the middle school.
Brandon Jones, who attended classes in the middle school as a student, said he supports whatever’s best for the district. Jones studied at the middle school during the 1997-98 school year. He said he doesn’t have strong emotional ties to the school or the property. If school board members sell the middle school property, Jones said all he asks is they effectively utilize the money from the sale.