East Helena Schools narrowing down facility options at Monday meeting

Marga Lincoln, Excerpt from the Helena Independent Record

East Helena Public Schools will take another step in its facility planning Monday night, with a public meeting set for 5:30 p.m. at East Valley Middle School library, 400 Kalispell Ave., East Helena.

“We want to sort through the options to pursue with the growth issues we’re dealing with,” said superintendent Ron Whitmoyer.

The district’s enrollment grew by 47 students this past year, a big leap from the typical annual increase of 8 to 10 students.

Based on the number of new houses going up in East Helena, the district expects to reach its capacity of 1,300 students within the next three years.

East Helena facilities planning meetings kicked into high gear in January.

Since then, citizens and staff, working with Slate Architecture, have narrowed the building options from 11 to four to address overcrowding.

And earlier this month, school district officials signed a purchase and sale agreement for Dartman Field, a 50-acre site contiguous to Radley School. The district plans to pay $90,000 for donation of the site by the Montana Environmental Trust Group, said Whitmoyer. The amount covers legal, technical, managerial and third-party costs.

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