WHITEFISH – Kids are heading back to class across Montana this week and while students are welcoming a new elementary school in Kalispell they are saying goodbye to one in Whitefish.
This year will be the last at Muldown Elementary School where five generations of students have roamed the halls as construction continues on the new facility which will be ready to welcome students next year.
"We might describe it as a modern mountain design. And it’s got a lot of texture and variation but it fits beautifully within this neighborhood and within the Whitefish community," said Whitefish Schools Superintendent Heather Davis Schmidt.
The days of worrying about snow and rain flooding the school are almost over for school leaders at Muldown Elementary School.
Tuesday was the last first day of school at the 50-year-old building where the failing roof, aging pipes and boiler prompted school leaders to start a task force nearly four years ago to explore options. The ground was finally broken in July on the new school.
"The construction work will continue through about June of 2020 to allow us some time to move into our new facility for the start of school in August of 2020," Davis Schmidt said.
The new school will be able to house up to 800 students and while parts of the old school will remain standing the rest will be demolished.
"The kindergarten wing, the gymnasium and the first and second-grade wing will stay," Davis Schmidt said. "And the original part of Muldown will be demolished once that time becomes appropriate in a couple of years."
The building — which houses Montana’s largest elementary school — was built in 1966 and last renovated in 1992.