KALISPELL — The multi million dollar renovations are complete at Flathead High School, just in time for a new school year.
Kalispell Public Schools Superintendent says all the renovations -- which he says were desperately needed -- were made possible by a $28 million bond that was passed in 2016.
“The old gym was built in the 1920s and so, it was old. If it could’ve been restored we probably would’ve considered that but it was falling apart," Flatau said. "It was from the construction firm when they began to take that down how easily the walls just collapsed."
Max Grebe, the lead architect with LPW architects, told MTN News that the construction work came with some challenges -- particularly, attempting to have the entire school flow effortlessly between the different eras it was built in.
“The biggest challenges had to do with tying all the different eras of the school together. Seeing as the original parts of the school was built in the 1910s and the early teens, all the way through the 80’s. So, it was a challenge to tie all the different parts of the school together to make it all flow,” explained Grebe.
Grebe says the architects were able to do this by subtly improving the older spots in the building by installing new lockers and floor tiles. Superintendent Flatau says integration was a a major success.
“So, now you can go anywhere on the first floor and you walk into the new and out of the new seamlessly. Same thing on the second floor,” said Flatau.
Since the school is an older building, Grebe says a huge issue was how to improve the security at the facility. He told MTN News they were able to reduce the number of entrances to the school to keep students and faculty safer.
An extra 18 classrooms were added which Flatau says accommodates another 100 students for the growing Flathead Valley.
Being one of the last projects Flatau works on before his retirement he reflects on his time at the district.
“I’ve been following Flathead High School for many, many years and coming to the Valley for over 40. We’re just so grateful and again so happy that this shining gem of a new addition is added to Flathead high school,” said Flatau
Flatau says students are excited to start the new school year with the new renovations.