A Burger King and an express car wash are expected to be constructed near Lewiston’s new high school in coming months in what could be the first of a throng of ventures to benefit from the project.

The city of Lewiston is reviewing building permit applications for the restaurant in the 200 block of Thain Road, and the car wash just a couple blocks away on a vacant lot near El Sombrero Mexican restaurant, where a used car lot and house once were, said city building official John Smith.

The Burger King site is being developed by a California company called Love in an Elevator and has additional commercial space in a proposed separate building that doesn’t yet have tenants assigned.

Similarly, the car wash plans, which were submitted by Lewiston construction contractor Steve Carlton, show a spot for an eatery that hasn’t been named.

Discussions are underway with a fast-food restaurant, Carlton said. “I’m not at liberty to say who I’m talking to at this point.”

Land he owned adjacent to the car wash site was sold to Idaho Central Credit Union, but Carlton said he doesn’t know what the plans of that financial institution are.

The credit union is known in this area for its $10 million contribution to the University of Idaho basketball arena that gave it naming rights to the facility.

Credit union spokeswoman Laura Smith declined to answer questions about her employer’s Lewiston property purchase or when its Moscow branch may be completed. Work on the Palouse office was slowed by an unanticipated $1.5 million cleanup of underground fuel tanks; no opening date has been announced.

In Lewiston, 1,350 students are expected to be enrolled at its $60 million, 206,000-square-foot high school when it opens this fall. That figure doesn’t include the high school’s staff or the students and employees of Lewis-Clark State College’s Schweitzer Career and Technical Education Center next door.

Besides students and employees, the campus will be frequented by spectators of LHS’ volleyball, basketball, tennis and wrestling matches. Those sports are moving to the new high school this year and will be followed by football, softball, soccer and track in a few years.

That increase in activity will likely draw other businesses, Smith said.

“I believe we’re going to see more,” he said. “It’s meeting the needs of the high school and other students in the area.”

How the spending habits of students will change won’t be known until the high school debuts.

Students will be able to leave campus at lunch, as they can now, though administrators are hoping more students choose to stay on the grounds because of food service upgrades, said LHS Principal Kevin Driskill.

“Sometimes if you close campus, it can be a challenge of trying to play catch,” said Lewiston Superintendent Bob Donaldson.

The present cafeteria seats 300 and has no exterior windows. Many students drive to McDonald’s, Dairy Queen and Little Caesars pizza to buy lunch, partly because they have low prices, Driskill said.

McDonald’s has a location in the Lewiston Orchards near the new high school, but the other two don’t.

The cafeteria at the new high school can fit 450 students and another 100 in a nearby commons area. Numerous windows look out onto an outside courtyard with space for 180 people.

The eating area is designed in a food court style and will have features such as a daily salad bar, which aren’t available now, Donaldson said.

For students who still opt for fast food, the Lewiston Orchards has limited options, Carlton said.

“I know that’s why those people want to put (restaurants) in,” he said.

Williams may be contacted at ewilliam@lmtribune.com or (208) 848-2261.

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