New Lewiston High almost halfway done

Bob Donaldson

The looming walls of the new Lewiston High School provided a tangible glimpse of the future home of ninth-through-12th-grade Bengals as members of the school board visited the construction site Monday.

Construction on the project began almost a year ago, after bids were awarded in early June of 2018. Now, the project is just shy of 50 percent completion, according to Bryce Parker, the project manager with Beniton Construction.

The new campus in the Lewiston Orchards will feature a 204,000-square-foot high school and the A. Neil DeAtley Career Technical Education Center, which will be about 39,000 square feet.

“It’s enormous,” Brad Rice, school board president, said as he walked through the building. “You can really envision it now.”

Parker said activity on the site has ramped up significantly in the past six to eight weeks, following what he called a rough winter. Despite challenging weather conditions, the project remains on schedule and on budget.

There are about 100 workers on site each day, Parker said, but that number is expected to increase in the coming weeks.

The gymnasium sits on the east side of the campus. It has a footprint of around 40,000 square feet and houses the wrestling and training rooms, as well as a weight room, locker rooms and a separate entrance for sporting events.

Along with the competition courts on the main level, the upper level mezzanine will house practice courts and retractable bleachers.

The new gym will have 2,062 seats, which will accommodate about 700 more spectators than the current high school’s Booth Hall.

The gym connects to a wing of first- and second-floor classrooms, a media center and a computer lab.

The central point of the high school, which runs east to west, will feature the main entrances into the school, equipped with secure vestibules that lead into a commons area with high windows and translucent paneling. The design features will create a “wide-open space” with plenty of natural lighting, according to Parker.

Architect Amber Van Ocker incorporated plenty of windows, which she said will allow for natural lighting in many of the classrooms and hallways.

The about 18,400-square-foot auditorium located off of the commons area will feature a stage and orchestra pit on the south side and enough seating for about 1,000 people.

The cafeteria and kitchen will be located west of the commons area, while the remainder of the building features spaces for the career center and counseling offices, as well as room for earth sciences, biology and chemistry. In all, there will be 34 classrooms, nine science rooms and two art classrooms in the main building.

The concrete pad for the A. Neil DeAtley Career Technical Education Center will be poured this Friday to the northwest of the high school. The stand-alone, 39,000-square-foot building will house about 15 classrooms and lab spaces dedicated to programs like welding, construction and automotive technology, according to Construction Superintendent Rich Fontaine.

The space between the two buildings will feature grass and a pathway.

Construction is expected to be completed in June 2020. Both buildings will open for the 2020-21 school year.

School board member Staci Baldwin said the progress on the high school has been impressive to watch.

“This is a big deal,” Baldwin said. “I’m really excited.”

Tomtas may be contacted at or (208) 848-2294. Follow her on Twitter @jtomtas.

School board approves contract extension, raise for superintendent

Following a two-and-a-half-hour executive session, the Lewiston School Board unanimously approved a third-year contract extension and 3.1 percent raise for Superintendent Bob Donaldson.

Donaldson’s salary for the first of the three years will be set at $139,566. Changes to his salary in subsequent years will be determined on an annual basis.

Donaldson was hired as the superintendent six years ago. The new contract begins Monday and will go through June of 2022.

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