The first Whittier School was located at 1207 Fort Street. Built in 1894 to relieve overcrowding, the building originally had four grade school classrooms. Two additions in the late 1800's increased its size significantly, and gave the building a basement and two floors.

In 1917, a fire consumed the entire roof of the building. At the time, the building had a hip-type roof before the fire. Whittier was vacant for one year before the School Board decided to repair it. The replacement roof was flat, and the building had parapet brick walls outside and plastered walls and ceilings on the inside. The school was used as an elementary school until it was condemned at the end of the 1937-38 school year. The building served as a community arts and crafts center until it was reopened as the District Administrative Offices in 1942.

Although the Whittier building was condemned in 1938, classes were held in the junior high (later North Junior High) under the name Whittier School for grades one, two and three until 1941.

The post war years saw great growth in the Boise District, and in 1948, Trustees authorized the construction of a new Whittier School. The Chinese Gardens to the south side of the Boise River gave rise to the village of Garden City, which had no school. The new Whittier would serve the Garden City area and the area south of State Street.

The new school opened in the fall of 1949. Whittier was built next to the Boise River and the playground area is on river rock and sand. The grass area is hard to maintain because the water disappears into the sandy soil and the grass turns brown on the hot summer days.

Whittier School is located in the Model Cities area and received benefits from some of the federal programs funded in the late 1960's and early 1970's. Some of the programs were kindergartens, counselors, teachers' aides and equipment. It received a new portable building to house kindergarten students in 1972.