KALISPELL - Kalispell’s newest elementary school now has a new name.
Back in early September the district put out a call to the community to nominate a person who has contributed significantly to the development of the community. After a months-long process of meetings votes and public input, the Kalispell Public School Board of Trustees unanimously voted Tuesday to name the new elementary school Rankin Elementary School after Montana's first woman to serve in Congress, Jeannette Rankin .
"Jeannette Rankin was the first U.S. Congresswoman and appointed to represent Montana and was born in 1880 and passed away in 1973," said Superintendent of Kalispell Public Schools Mark Flatau.
The selection committee reviewed more than 50 names nominated before deciding on Rankin who was born in Missoula and helped pass the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote.
"She was the first and elected I was told before women even had the right to vote and she was instrumental in passing the amendment that allowed women to vote," Flatau said.
Progress on the construction of the school has also been moving along.
"Were roughly a week or week and half ahead of schedule," said Lane Huffman, the Project Superintendent and contractor with Langlas & Associates. "So far we have the gym the brick veneer will go up Monday morning and sequence one is here and installed and sequence two today and tomorrow."
"We put a fast track on this elementary school because we knew we needed it to be ready for kids in the Fall of 2018 and so far so good," Flatau said. "We continue to work and the construction crew has been excellent to work with and very grateful to the community for the support."
Flatau says they have chosen Merisa Murray to be the new principle of Rankin Elementary School. She is currently the principle of Edgerton Elementary School. Edgerton's Assistant Principle Jenn Stein will move into the role of principle at Edgerton.
Voters approved a $22 million bond last fall for the new elementary school and updates to the existing elementary and high schools.