MISSOULA – After nearly three years of construction, the students at Missoula’s Hellgate High School were quick to settle into their updated spaces.
“They’re teenagers, so they’ve been really excited. But for them it’s the new normal,” said Hellgate Principal Judson Miller. “They have been amazing. Its been a four-year process. Three years of pretty intense trauma. Last year at this time we had 14 classrooms that were under renovation, so we were combining classrooms we had teachers on carts. Our kids have been amazing.”
Nearly $23 million of a $70 million bond passed in November 2015 went to major upgrades in security and technology, as well as making internal systems more environmentally and economically friendly.
For new security, they have a state of the art locks and cameras with updates to the entryway of the school.
Even with all of these security measures in place, Miller tells us it was important for the staff that they maintain a welcoming tone.
A new kitchen, commons, multipurpose library were constructed with students feelings at the forefront of architects minds.
“It’s very exciting project,” said Don Macarthur with MMW Architects. “You know, the space we’re in now we imagined there being a new heart of the school which is centered in the library and the commons you walked through on the way to the library. We were really excited to transform that and bring those functions to the middle of the school where they belong and students would walk by them every single day.”
The librarians and students contributed ideas and throughout the process some of the students participated in internships with the architecture firm.