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Columbia Falls school board approves $37M bond for community vote

Posted at 8:39 AM, Jun 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-30 11:28:20-04

COLUMBIA FALLS – Superintendent of Columbia Falls Schools Steve Bradshaw says it’s been 20 years since the district last asked for a bond.

Bradshaw tells MTN that Glacier Gateway Elementary was built in the ’40s and the parts that still stand aren’t salvageable. A brand new $10 million to $12 million building would be built.

More classrooms and a secure entrance are needed for Ruder elementary to keep up with the growing Columbia Falls population.

Bradshaw says he recognizes $37 million is a lot but added that just renovating the buildings is not an option.

“It’s not worth putting the money into for what you would get out of it. It’s only about, this is a big amount I know, so I shouldn’t say it’s only about, but it’s about a $5 million difference to renovate it or to build a new building, so the committee opted to build a new building,” Bradshaw said.

The bond will be presented to the public for a vote this October by mail-in ballots. Bradshaw says if the bond is passed people with a home valued at $250,000 will pay $26 dollars a month or $312.00 annually.

Bradshaw tells MTN many people have asked about using the now-closed Canyon elementary school as an option. He says that the board has looked into using Canyon Elementary and it’s simply not feasible.