Clarifying the $7 Million Option

By Beacon Staff

We wanted to write to clarify the current discussion about the proposal currently before the voters for the Whitefish High School, and specifically discuss the $7 million approach that has become part of the discourse.

We did not present the $7 million alternative to the community’s planning group. It arose in response to a question about the cost for minimum renovations to extend the life of the building. We qualified our answer of $5-7 million by defining that it should be characterized as a paint and fix up approach. This would not address building modifications for current curriculum or technology. It would not include major revisions to solve winter heating problems, nor ventilation for cooling overheated classrooms in the warmer seasons. This alternative would extend the life of the building five years into the future, thus only postponing the decision for the improvements that would meet the goals established by the team. We would be “kicking the can down the road.”

The committee chose to consider solutions that were more long term, and those that would support 21st century learning. We studied alternatives that involved both renovation and new construction ranging from $17 million and $19.5 million. The final bond proposal is lower than these figures, because the community has already raised fully 25 percent of the cost. We have worked with thousands of school districts across the country, as well as many here in the Flathead Valley. That level of community support for public schools is unprecedented.

We congratulate Whitefish on that achievement and wish you the best in considering improvements to the high school.

Shane Jackola, Jackola Engineering and Architecture
Jon Pettit, DLR Group
Craig Mason, DLR Group

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