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$18M school bond sought to improve Eureka schools - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

$18M school bond sought to improve Eureka schools

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EUREKA - The Eureka School District is asking residents to vote on an $18.15 million bond request that would rebuild the middle and elementary schools while also repairing parts of the high school.

The bond would put almost $15 million into building a conjoined elementary and middle school building and put another $3.5 million dollars into replacing the high school’s bus barn and auto shop.

The two schools would be physically attached to the high school using pod-style classrooms to create a more usable and efficient space.

“You don’t have the traditional hallway space, which cuts down on your square footage, and it cuts down on your maintenance, cuts down on your cleaning. It cuts down on a lot of things so overall, you’re spending more money on kid education rather than you are on maintaining a building," explained Eureka Middle School teacher Trevor Utter.

Utter pointed out some of the issues with the current building, such as leaks, cracks in the roofs and ceilings and a backup boiler that he says could give out at any time.

When the new high school was built in 2004, the old structure was deemed unsafe and students had to attend class in local churches. Utter wants to avoid any distractions to education like that from happening this time around.

“It was quite disruptive and we’re not to the point where the building is getting condemned and we’re forced to do that. But I think realistically if you have a 1929 building you have to figure in the next 10-15 years somebody is going to be faced with that problem and being proactive and making sure that we set it up and not have a very disruptive education process for a couple years while we build," Utter said.

The cost to taxpayers would be just under $14 a month for owners of homes valued at $100,000 -- just under $12 for the middle and elementary school bond and just over $2 for the high school bond.

Residents who have children that attend middle schools in Trego or Fortine would only pay for the high school bond.

“Doing this for our kids seems more logical than putting a band-aid on, basically, a bullet wound is kind of what we have right now," Utter said. "And so, we need to do more than just put band-aids on it. So, we’re looking at building new so that we can have hopefully something set up for the next 75 years of education here in Eureka.”

Under the new plan, the elementary school that was built in 1954 would be torn down while the historic middle school built in 1934 would try to be re-purposed for another use.

The ballots have been sent out and the future of Eureka’s public schools now lies in the hands of the voters

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