The Foundation recently presented a $25,000 check to the Whitefish School District to help out with the unique project.
“We reviewed it, we selected it ourselves as something we wanted to support and finally have been able to award a $25,000-dollar grant in order to further the project along," said Whitefish Community Foundation President Linda Engh-Grady.
The Foundation has been able to award major grants in recent years through the help of private donations, "and if it were not for private donations coming in to do some of these extra-curricular projects they would never really happen," Engh-Grady said.
The Foundation has been involved in this project with their Youth and Philanthropy Grant to the first group of students that had this vision, years before it came to fruition in 2017, according to Engh-Grady.
They chose to give to the new center because of the creativity and progressive abnormality of the education that will take place at the facility.
“It really is something that’s hands-on -- outside of the normal math and computers and spelling and everything else that we’re focused on -- and it’s entrepreneurial, it is sustainability. It’s real hands-on type of learning," Engh-Grady told MTN News.
Not only will the building provide a unique and physical learning experience but the building will truly be a state of the art structure as it will be "net zero energy", meaning it doesn’t need fossil fuels to generate power.
As unique as the building is, it’s being put together with everyday, normal home building materials, but what isn't seen at first glance is the attention to detail that makes it net zero energy. For example, there are triple pane windows, superior insulation and a climate battery that runs underground.
Whitefish School District Professional Development Director Ryder Delaloye says the building may be a first for the state, but is supposed to represent a realistic model for what Montana can do moving forward with a more sustainable lifestyle.
“It’s not indented to be some futuristic Jetson interpretation of sustainability, rather it is intended to be in line with Montana and the values that we have and the aesthetic that we cultivate in our community," Delaloye explained.
"So, in merging that all together and helping the community recognize these are things they can do in their own homes and practices they can embody both on a behavioral side but also on a facility side. And so that’s one of the important storylines in the Center for Sustainability and Entrepreneurship," Delaloye added.