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The Alzar School

McKibben + Cooper Architects


The Alzar School


  • General Contractor: Jordan Wilcomb Construction

Project Status



4,962 sq. feet
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Project Description


The Alzar School is a leadership boarding school for 15/16 year olds on 100 acres on the bank of the Payette River. It includes instruction and residential facilities for 16 students and 8 staff, with plans for additional 16 students and 4 staff.

Construction included a mile-long access road and all utilities, including a biomicrobial septic system. The architect’s scope included a classroom, office and dining building, 4-unit staff residence, and solar bathhouse. Students are housed in two yurts with provisions for an addition two, and a second staff residence is planned.

The major feature of the site is a 15’ “bench” running north/south between the flood plain along the river and the higher land to the east. All buildings are placed adjacent to the top of the bench to take advantage of river and mountain views, and oriented east/west to take advantage of sunlight.

All buildings are a combination of metal and wood siding with carefully designed overhangs that let in the sun in the winter and shade in the summer. They are placed with their floors 2’ above the ground to avoid a ‘buried’ feeling in winter.

The Confluence Building is the hub of campus life and features many incidental spaces for study collaboration. The classrooms and library have clerestory windows for indirect sun and reduce the need for artificial light. The building is anchored by the chimney mass with three fireplaces, culminating in a study area on the second floor.
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