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Sage School to Show Off New Digs
Friday, September 30, 2022


This week Sage School students moved into their new home in Quigley Canyon.

The school’s 82 sixth- through 12th grade students unpacked their books in the six-building campus, and now school staff are preparing to let the community check out the school’s new digs.

An Open House will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3. A tour of the $7 million campus will start at 5:30 p.m. The campus includes a main barn-like building, three studio classroom buildings and three modular units brought over from the old campus near the airport.

The timber-frame barn that serves as the centerpiece of the campus had its origins in Mancos, Colo., where Wind River Timberframes hand-cut the timber with mallets and chisels before trucking it to Hailey. The building features batten wood and stone on the exterior and timber trusses inside.

The 8,000-square foot barn building boasts hardwood floors and houses the administrative office, a community kitchen that can be used by students and the community and cubicles for projects. The school’s seniors’ classroom and library occupy the second-floor loft under a skylight. That floor is accessible with an ADA-designed elevator.

The building provides open flex space for gatherings of the entire student body, and it can be divided into smaller units, as well. Covered with solar panels, it’s all electric. No fossil fuels are involved, according to Mike Pfau, vice chair of the Sage School board and project manager for Lee Gilman Builders.

The campus perimeter is ringed by a Darwinian Experiential Trail. Water-efficient bunch grasses and other plants make up the landscaping.

Situated in Quigley Farm, the school campus will have access to wilderness where students can watch deer nibbling amidst the sagebrush, perform ecology experiments and conduct restoration projects They’ll also learn about the agricultural history of the Wood River Valley since the canyon until this year was the site of a working farm.

Out-of-book experience is big for Sage School students, who get five full weeks of field study, traveling to various points around the country. Eighth-and ninth graders traveled to San Francisco this month to attend musical theater and Indie theater, tour museums and take walking tours past Haight Ashbury and Mission murals to learn how art is used to express idea and promote activism.

Students have climbed rocks at City of the Rocks in southeast Idaho, taken a NOLS Wilderness First Aid course, circumnavigated the San Juan islands in tandem sea kayaks, sailed the Salish Sea on a historic 160-foot schooner and volunteered with a tiny home community helping to transition homeless from the streets to temporary housing in Bellingham, Wash.

 They’ve also traveled through Idaho, exploring the archeology and history of Idaho’s original cultures, and taken part in weekly community service activities to understand the impact they can have on the world.

The Sage School was founded by two longtime Wood River Valley teachers Harry Weekes and Chris McAvoy in 2009. It started with 16 students.

This year school alum Andrew McKeen will join the Human Ecology team after traveling in South America, attending Quest University in Squamish, B.C. and guiding whitewater raft trips for 10 summers. Human ecology studies how man relates to the natural environment, the environment man has built and the social environment.

Other new teachers include Sarah Mansfield, who will join the Human Ecology team and teach writing. She grew up on the Massachusetts coast where she waded in Cape Cod marshes, tracked spotted turtles and keyed in on the annual nocturnal salamander crawl. Reese Hodges, who spent a year at the University of Chile and did field research in Patagonia, will be the Spanish and Human Ecology Teacher.

Adam Angel, secretary at the Sage School praised Board chair Erik Vorm’s tenacity and solution finding for keeping the project as close to schedule as possible.

“The new campus is an incredible asset to the community,” he added.

Questions? Call 208-788-0120 or visit TheSageSchool.org.

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