Dear Mayor Blad and members of the Pocatello City Council,
I am writing to ask that you uphold the decision of the Historic Preservation Committee and deny School District 25's current plans to remodel Pocatello High School.
First, let me say that I understand the reason to remodel the building. We do want the building to be accessible to all students. We do want our students to be safe and have a means of getting from one building to another without going outside. And we do want to accommodate an increasing number of students who will be attending Pocatello High School in the future.
I realize that there are architectural challenges in remodeling and expanding the high school building. The fact that the city sewer and water lines underneath the proposed structure need to be accessible makes any architectural design especially challenging.
But I am also aware that a state preservation expert has said that preservation and function can exist together. I feel that School District 25 has not fully explored all of the possible ways to meet the needs of their students and to also preserve the historic character of the building.
For a decision this controversial, School District 25 should follow the example of the City of Pocatello regarding changes to expect in Ross Park, or the State Transportation Department in designing the traffic pattern at Hiline and Alameda. Hold a public hearing, well advertised in advance in the newspaper, radio, TV, and social media. At the hearing, explain the goal, the vision and the problems, with a visual chart or power point. If possible, show the floor plans, have a model of the building for people to see. Then give people a chance to comment or ask questions. Welcome suggestions! A simple notice of a public hearing just won't cut it when considering a project of this importance.
Remodeling construction will not begin until Spring of 2020 anyway. By upholding the decision of the Historic Preservation Committee, you will give School District 25 the opportunity to provide more information to the public, receive additional ideas for ways to meet student needs and also preserve the historic character of the building, At the very least, more people will understand the final decision on the building design, whatever that will be.
Please uphold the decision of the Historic Preservation Committee.
I appreciate your consideration.