Smith Valley School has replaced a bus waiting shelter on school grounds and added a new shelter location on U.S. 2 West near a section of Rails to Trails (in front of the Batavia Waterfowl Production Area that joins Smith Lake at Kila).
The shelters were purchased for $550 each as surplus property from the city of Kalispell. Smith Valley Principal Laili Komenda said their original value was $5,500 each. Concrete slabs for the new shelters were bid out to Meredith Construction for $800.
The school received a $1,900 “Roundup for Safety” grant from Flathead Electric Cooperative to fund the project.
The 5- by 10-foot shelters have metal frames, safety glass sides and acrylic glass roofing replacing. One of them replaces the former plywood shelter on school grounds.
“The former shelter was not in disrepair — just not ideal for the purpose it was intended,” Komenda said, adding that the solid walls made it difficult to supervise students.
The plywood shelter will be re-purposed to contain recycling.
Volunteers Jonathan Sharpe, Jerry Snell, Kevin Sturgess, Cory Tombarge and Parker Cameron completed installation of the shelters Sept. 23. A few days later, Smith Valley students did their part by scrubbing down and cleaning up the shelter on U.S. 2.
Since there are no school bus routes at Smith Valley, the shelters will be used as waiting areas while students are picked up from school, or a place to seek shelter in case of inclement weather while they walk or bike to school, Komenda said.