MISSOULA – With final designs in place, Missoula County Public Schools leaders say they’re ready to break ground on reconstruction at Meadow Hill Middle School.
The reconfiguration of Meadow Hill is one of the last projects to be launched under the "Smart Schools 2020" bonds that were approved by voters 3-years ago. And with the collection of gyms, wandering hallways and tacked on modulars, with some sections dating back to the 1950s has been a real challenge.
But architects feel they’ve found the solution to multiple problems.
"There will be a kitchen directly connected to it so they’ll no longer be bring food through the hallways and dragging trash outside," said Brad Doll, senior associate A&E Architects. "And then the admin space, for the needs that they had. Because right now they’re stuffed in closests. They’re stuffed all over the place at that school. So we tried to consolidate them as much as we could."
Doll told MCPS trustees Tuesday the new designs reclaim thousands of square feet, making space like gyms multipurpose, available for school and community events. Music rooms will be shifted, and the project will remove the old Colstrip-era modular units, which have been a real concern for school safety. The same is true for the re-worked Administration area. That’s already shifting as construction starts this fall. And along with other schools, the district is reaching out with brochures about the changes for parents.
"So parents can have an idea of what to expect when they come back so it won’t be a big surprise that we’ve re-located the main entrance to Meadow Hill," said MCPS Maintenance and Operations Supervisor Burley McWilliams. "We want to make sure that our parents have good ample warning where their kids can be dropped off, and where they can access the building from."
McWilliams told the board that construction at Russell Elementary should wrap up before the start of school. And Jeanette Rankin is still on track for an opening later in the fall or mid-winter.