Bigfork Board Selects Renovation Plan for High School

Redevelopment and addition could cost over $12 million

By Beacon Staff

The Bigfork school board approved plans for a proposed renovation and addition of the high school during last week’s meeting.

The seven-member Bigfork School District Board of Trustees on May 13 selected a project plan that would seek to add 23,260 square feet and upgrade another 46,890 square feet at the high school.

Planners from CTA Architects Engineers estimated the renovation and addition could cost between $12 million and $14 million. CTA officials described the plan at last week’s meeting, calling it the “Agora option,” which translates to gathering place.

A separate plan that was considered would have sought to build slightly more new space and likely cost more.

The school board would need voter approval for a bond to move forward with the project.

School administrators have restarted a dialogue with the Bigfork community about its high school, which was built in the 1960s and has received few renovations over the last five decades.

After conducting the latest site assessment last year that once again found structural issues and growing needs throughout the campus, the Bigfork school board voted to embark on an “educational visioning and strategic facility plan,” which aimed to develop goals and options for the school, including possible renovations.

CTA Architects Engineers, which was hired to conduct the study, found the school is largely outdated and lacking proper space.

Enrollment in Bigfork has now risen for five straight years.

The school district hosted community meetings to discuss ideas that could be incorporated into any future redevelopment plans in recent months.

Nearly seven years ago, the school district failed twice in five months to pass a bond for high school renovations. Administrators followed a similar strategy as the latest effort, hiring an architecture firm to analyze needs and costs over 18 months. The district proposed an $11.1 million bond for the high school and a $5.5 million bond for the middle school.

According to administrators, the situation remains the same and in some ways has worsened.

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