COLUMBIA FALLS - It’s an exciting start to the new year in Columbia Falls as the new Glacier Gateway Elementary School officially opens its doors to students.
The new school is years in the making after a $21.5 million bond was approved by Columbia Falls voters back in 2019.
Out with the old, in with the new.
“How many teachers get to experience this in their careers? Moving into a brand-new building, it’s amazing,” said Glacier Gateway Elementary teacher Jane Dews.
It’s a thankful start to the new year for Columbia Falls educators and students as the new Glacier Gateway Elementary School officially opens.
“So, we’re so thankful for our architects and our contractor and all the subcontractors and all of the people who have a lot of vested interest, many of them who live in this community, so it’s just been a great display of teamwork to get this project put together,” said Columbia Falls Superintendent Dave Wick.
Wick said the new school is built to last the next 50 years and will feature much-needed upgrades across the board. Those upgrades include a brand-new multi-purpose gymnasium, cafeteria, and auditorium.
“We’ve been using a gym for our cafeteria for a long time, it’s noisy in there and not an appropriate space for a cafeteria, that’s been for many, many years, so to have a cafeteria dedicated space is fantastic,” added Wick.
Teachers at Glacier Gateway said they're beyond excited to have students roam the halls for the first time.
“The classrooms are beautiful, the building’s beautiful, it’s just going to be a fresh new start for everyone,” said Glacier Gateway Elementary Teacher Trista Schaeffer.
Wick says the brand-new school wouldn’t be possible without the trust and support of Columbia Falls residents.
“It’s great support by the community, we’re so thankful for their belief in our educational system here in Columbia Falls and support for teachers and for their own children to make a great learning environment has been a fantastic thing, we’re so thankful and grateful,” said Wick.