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Community input sought on growing Smith Valley School

Smith Valley School
Posted at 3:43 PM, Mar 11, 2021

KALISPELL — Smith Valley School officials in Kalispell say they have outgrown their current facility and are asking community members to help come up with a solution.

The small K-8 school district off of Highway 2 West is hosting a series of meetings with the community on Monday to gather ideas about the school’s lack of space.

Smith Valley School Superintendent Laili Komenda says every classroom at the school is at capacity with school officials needing to utilize the lunchroom at times as a learning space.

She says the district is starting at the ground level with community input as anything from school expansion to an entirely new location is on the table.

A bond to upgrade school facilities at Smith Valley was voted down in 2017. But, Komenda says she’s worried about the school’s outdated septic system as enrollment numbers have grown steadily over the past 10 years.

“Septic system was meant for 208 or 209 people, and with 218 kids and 30 staff in and out we’re well over the capacity of that,” Komenda said. “So far we haven’t seen any issue with it with any pooling or anything but that could be a matter of time.”

Three in-person community brainstorming meetings will be held at Smith Valley School on Monday at 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. A virtual meeting will also be held Monday at 7 p.m. Those wishing to attend are asked to RSVP by emailing

Space will be limited at in-person meetings to under 50 people.