Broken Air Conditioning Unit Creates Budget Shortfall at Museum at Central School

The museum spent $48,300 to replace the air conditioning unit and controls

By Beacon Staff
The Museum at Central School, pictured Friday, January 3, 2014. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

The Museum at Central School is accepting donations to help address a budget shortfall after the aging air conditioning unit broke this summer.

Gil Jordan, executive director of the Northwest Montana Historical Society, which operates the local history museum inside the 123-year-old building in downtown Kalispell, said the unit was turned on June 25 and died shortly afterward.

After researching the situation and reviewed bids, the museum spent $48,300 to replace the unit and controls. The new equipment is now installed and working well, but the museum’s budget has taken a serious hit, Jordan said.

“This was an unexpected, and unbudgeted expense,” Jordan said. “We’re applying for grants, tapping into our modest reserves, have secured a low-interest loan, and are appealing to our members and generous donors to help us fill this surprise shortage of  funds. In this 22,000 square foot stone and brick building, where we host upwards of 250 events each year, air conditioning is not a luxury, it is a necessity.”

Jordan encouraged any friends and supporters of the museum who are in a position to help to provide a special donation.

The Museum at Central School works on 40-year lease with the City of Kalispell requiring the non-profit organization to be responsible for all maintenance and repairs inside and out the facility.

In 2010, the Northwest Montana Historical Society came up with $86,600 to replace the failed leaky roof with an all-new 50-year roof. In 2014, the organization gathered $35,000 to upgrade out-moded, inefficient and failing heating circulation pumps, as well as $3,482 to repair and replace failed concrete sidewalks and handicap ramp. This year the organization spent $11,000 to replace worn-out carpeting.

Checks can be made out to the Museum at Central School, 124 2nd Ave E., Kalispell, MT 59901. Donors should note “AC Project” on the check. The Northwest Montana Historical Society is a 501 c 3 non-profit organization. Donations are tax deductible.