Seeking to address an outdated facility, the Smith Valley School District is asking residents to approve a $6 million general obligation bond.
Mail-in ballots were delivered last week and the election is March 28. Ballots can be returned to the school district until 8 p.m. that night.
The request comes at a time of increasing enrollment and deteriorating facility conditions. The bond fund would help build a new section of school for kindergarten-through-eighth grade students. The last time a bond was approved was in 2004 and it was used to develop a modular building to house kindergarten through fourth grade.
The 20-year bond would fund a new gymnasium, library, five additional classrooms, repurpose the current gym into a flexible space for a cafeteria and other uses and address parking issues, according to Serina Nelson, the district’s business manager.
“When we have programs, there is not enough room for people,” Nelson said.
“(The school) is overly crowded.”
Enrollment hit 231 students last fall, 23 more than 10 years earlier.
If the bond were approved, residents with homes valued at approximately $200,000 would see their property taxes annually increase by an estimated $448.83, according to the district.
Smith Valley School, located roughly 5 miles west of Kalispell on U.S. Highway 2 West, was established in 1989 when the Boorman and Batavia school districts consolidated.
In recent years, several classes have had to switch rooms because of swelling class sizes and fire marshal regulations, according to school officials. The staff room and work room serve as paper storage and records are stored above the bathrooms in the gym. The computer lab was dissolved due to out-of-date technology and the need for additional classroom space.
School officials have offered to give members of the public tours of the facility if requested.
For more information, visit smithvalleyschool.org/ or contact the school staff at 756-4535.