Money is going to a local elementary school district to design a new building to replace its 25-year-old facility. “We’re pretty excited about it. The school is getting pretty old,” Paul Stahl, the chair of the board of Gildford Colony Elementary School, said this morning. “We need to do some updating on it.” Hill County Superintendent of Schools Shirley Isbell said Monday the Montana Department of Commerce awarded a $25,000 planning grant through the Quality Schools Grant Program to design a new school to replace the mobile home the Hutterite colony uses for its elementary school. The colony will provide a $10,010 match, Isbell said. She added that the colony has been working with Springer Group Architects of Bozeman and hopes the design will be ready by the first part of March. “We have been trying for 25 years to do something with that school, and finally something has broken loose and allowed us to,” Isbell said. Stahl said size is the largest problem with the school, although energy efficiency also is a major concern. The K-8 school now has 10 students, and the building does not have space for them and the teachers, desks, technology and an increasing library. Stahl said another problem is with handicap-accessibility. While the building has a ramp, it is too cramped inside to maneuver a wheelchair. The grant program, a priority of Gov. Brian Schweitzer, has provided funding for the second step of getting a new school at the colony, Isbell said. The first step was a state-conducted study to assess energy efficiency, safety and adequacy of facilities. Isbell said she expects to receive the final results of that study on the Gildford Colony school very soon. Isbell said she plans to use the information from that report in writing applications for the next phase: finding funding to build the new school. She said she will write applications to the Department of Commerce and other funding sources to find $1.5 million for construction of the new school. Stahl said he and the members of the colony are thankful for Isbell’s help in the process to get a new school and in many other issues with which she has helped the Gildford Colony school. Her knowledge of many issues is crucial, he said. “She’s got a lot of points we don’t know about,” Stahl said.
Drawing up a school
Grant approved to design new school for Gildford Colony
Published: Tuesday, February 9th, 2010
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