The Whitefish School District has selected Martel Construction as the general contractor and construction manager to oversee the new Muldown Elementary School project.
The school board approved Martel at its April 10 meeting. The next step will be to negotiate and finalize a contract.
Voters approved a $26.5 million bond last October to build a new elementary school and demolish portions of the existing school, which has struggled with aging infrastructure and overcrowding. Muldown is the largest elementary school in Montana with roughly 700 students in kindergarten through fourth grade.
Martel, which has offices in Bigfork, Missoula and Bozeman, was one of six construction firms to submit proposals after initially submitting qualifications. The other five were Dick Anderson Construction, Jackson Contractor Group Inc., Swank Enterprises, Sletten Construction and Langlas and Associates, the company that oversaw construction of the high school and is currently leading the Rankin Elementary School project in Kalispell.
Martel also headed up construction of the school district’s Center for Sustainability and Entrepreneurship, which is slated to open on April 21. Steve L’Heureux of LPW Architecture, a Great Falls firm overseeing the project’s design and planning, said district officials and the board factored the established relationship with Martel into their decision.
“Their experience with (Martel) has been very good,” L’Heureux said. “They’ve done a good job for them in the past.”
The firm will work closely with LPW Architecture through the remainder of the schematic design and planning stages and into the construction process.
“We’re in the process of working with them right now as we do design work,” L’Heureux said. “It’s nice to have them involved early.”
On April 12, project planners held the second community forum of the spring to give an update to the public. Traffic congestion was once again a point of particular interest. Morrison Maierle of Kalispell is conducting a traffic study that will help illuminate a path forward.
The new two-story school, which will be constructed on the corner of Seventh Street and Pine Avenue, will be between 86,000 and 90,000 square feet and able to accommodate up to 800 students in kindergarten through fourth grade.