Pregnant teens and new moms have had a safe place to go in the North End since 1921, when the Salvation Army first opened the doors of a small hospital for unwed mothers on 24th Street. In 1962, the Idaho Legislature decided to turn what was then called "the Booth Home" into a fully accredited high school. The campus was renamed the Marian Pritchett School in 2002, honoring its longtime head teacher.
In 2010, the Idaho Legislature pulled the financial plug on the school, leaving it to the Boise School District and Salvation Army to keep the lights on. Since then, the school has continued to flourish, boasting a nearly 100 percent graduation rate.
The biggest change for Marian Pritchett lies ahead, as the Salvation Army looks to pull up stakes in the North End, construct a new campus on a vacant parcel of the 9000 block of West Emerald Street and consolidate several other Salvation Army facilities.
"The program for pregnant and parenting teens is so critical for our community," said Hillary Betz, development director for Salvation Army Boise. "But the buildings on 24th Street have outlived their ability to keep the campus there. So we're looking to build a new campus in an underserved area of town."
Betz said in addition to relocating the Marian Pritchett School, the Salvation Army wants to construct a 46,197-square-foot building to include a new worship chapel, child care facility, gymnasium and community ministry.
"Eighty-eight cents of every dollar that comes to the Salvation Army goes right back into our programs," she said. "There would be no reduction of services."
Boise-based Erstad Architects will go before the city's Planning and Zoning Commission Nov. 2 with an initial request to move forward with the Salvation Army's plans.
"But I don't think this would happen anytime soon," said Betz. "The next school year would definitely not be impacted. As for the future of the property on 24th Street, I'm thinking that the best use of that block would probably be more residential in nature."