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Stevensville asking residents to approve school bond

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Stevensville High School (MTN News file photo) Stevensville High School (MTN News file photo)

STEVENSVILLE - Stevensville voters are being asked to approve a school bond request.

The Stevensville School Board recently voted unanimously to proceed with bond elections for both the Stevensville High School and Elementary School Districts in May of 2018.

If approved, the bond money would be used for deferred maintenance, safety projects, and renovations. The bond proposal for the Stevensville Elementary School District is approximately $9.3 million and the proposal for the Stevensville High School District is approximately $13.3 million,

Stevensville Schools Superintendent Bob Moore says the money would be used to address deferred maintenance, renovations to buildings and grounds, student safety, sanitation, building access, and parking.

The request comes after the Stevensville School District commissioned a 15-to-20 year facilities plan with MMW Architects from Missoula earlier this year.

Moore says in a news release that, "relying heavily on input from parents, students, and stakeholders in the community, MMW and a team of contractors and construction engineers studied the entire Stevensville Public Schools facilities and grounds to develop recommendations in the form of a long range facilities plan."

The Board of Trustees has identified critical renovation, deferred maintenance, and grounds projects that best meet the immediate educational, student safety, and the activity needs of the Stevensville students.

Board member Cathi Cook stated that the Facilities Committee “narrowed the architect suggestions to focus the current bond on immediate needs.” She continued that “while there are many things that would be nice to add, this recommendation is near term while other worthwhile projects will have to wait until later in the long-term planning process.”

Board Chairman, Greg Trangmoe summarized the board decision when he stated that the district is only asking the public to cover basic facility needs. He explained that, “costs will continue to rise for these projects and the state has not shown a willingness to move forward with solutions to address aging schools across Montana. Instead, the current trend is to shift the burden to local districts, where school leaders and taxpayers can decide how to invest in their individual districts.” 

The elementary bond would be used to build additional classrooms, an entry vestibule with office, and connect the present elementary school to the elementary gymnasium.

The high school building was constructed in 1960 with additions in 1971 and 1979. The high school gym was constructed in 1973. No major renovations have occurred in the last 38 years, according to Moore -- meaning that the deferred maintenance and renovation needs are more extensive.

The school district will be hosting numerous informational events regarding the bond issues in the coming months.

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