Residents on the west side of Kalispell approved a $6.8 million bond for the overcrowded rural school on Farm to Market Road.
Fifty-six percent of voters, or 662, were in favor of West Valley School’s proposed bond, compared to 515 against, according to administrators. Mail-in ballots were shipped earlier this month and due back by Tuesday.
“We’re obviously very pleased that it passed,” Superintendent Cal Ketchum said. “It was a combination of a lot of efforts by a lot of people. And I’m just really pleased that we did what was right for kids.”
School administrators will now focus their efforts on hiring an engineering firm in the coming months to develop plans for a building addition of 30,000 square feet onto West Valley School.
Ketchum said the goal is to break ground on the school’s new wing in the spring.
Enrollment has ballooned 55 percent in the last 11 years to almost 600 students in kindergarten through eighth grade at the school, which is situated in the fastest growing section of the Flathead Valley. This year’s enrollment is 549 students, 100 over the facility’s total square-foot capacity, according to Ketchum.
“We tried to inform residents as much as we could by going out to houses and having community meetings,” Ketchum said. “With that grassroots effort, I think it helped.”
The school proposed a $3.5 million bond in 2010 to address overcrowding issues, but voters rejected the request; 678 were opposed and 422 voted in favor.
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