NeighborWorks Pocatello has entered the beginning stages of a housing development project at the Bonneville Elementary School building property in Pocatello.

NeighborWorks finalized a $250,000 deal in February to purchase the property from Pocatello-Chubbuck School District 25, according to NeighborWorks Pocatello executive director Mark Dahlquist.

Dahlquist said demolition of the school building begins early next week by Marshall Construction and Development in Pocatello at a cost of around $240,000.

Trees and rails have been cleared from the property by Marshall Construction, and a small amount of asbestos was removed from the building weeks ago by another company.

On Wednesday, NeighborWorks Pocatello met with Pocatello-based Myers-Anderson Architects and Idaho planning firm The Land Group for preliminary discussions on the housing development concept plan.

Dahlquist said a plan will be presented to the City of Pocatello by the end of May and construction will begin in spring 2021. NeighborWorks is not accepting construction bids yet.

“It’s just really important for us to have a really fine finished product that the neighborhood and community are proud of,” Dahlquist said. “So we’re really striving hard to get that.”

The deal to obtain the property was initiated in October 2019, when the Pocatello-Chubbuck School District 25 school board approved the letter of intent for the sale of the property to NeighborWorks.

The school district had tried to sell the property since Bonneville Elementary School closed in 2003.

The Bonneville building – located at 320 N. 8th Ave – first opened as Franklin Junior High School in 1923. The building served as an elementary school and was renamed in the 1960s.

The building is connected to the Triangle, a Pocatello area where people of different races and backgrounds lived for decades in the 20th century. Some of those people in that area sent their children to the Bonneville Elementary School that was near the Triangle.

The building was constructed by Frank Paradise, a notable 20th century architect in southeast Idaho.

Dahlquist said bricks will be saved from the building to commemorate it in some fashion.

“That’s just a building that has quite a historical context in Pocatello and many, many of our residents went to school there and have connections with that place,” Dahlquist said. “Development that pays tribute to the Bonneville School – we think that’s really important.”