On paper, the design for a brand new Whitefish High School looks good, but that’s where it should stay — on paper.
Sure, the $19 million building would have plenty of sizzle and would bring to fruition a lot of longtime dreams of the Whitefish community, but that has to be weighed against a declining student population and a declining economy.
In short, this is not the right project at the right time.
Moreover, it has to be acknowledged that not the entire Whitefish community shares this vision for a grand and magnificent high school. Indeed, the current proposal is quite similar to the $21.5 million request that voters rejected in 2008.
At some point, the Whitefish School District is probably going to have to offer the voters a more modest proposal that will ensure adequate facilities and technology infrastructure for a 21st-century education without quite so much sizzle. That could mean anything from a new addition or component to the existing school that would serve as the nucleus for future upgrades or it could mean rebuilding existing facilities one piece at a time.
But it seems highly unlikely that Whitefish voters will approve a costly proposal such as this one when the economy has already diminished the value of so many properties and so many paychecks.
YOU PROBABLY wish you could put yourself in Gene Lenz’s shoes — or more specifically his truck.
Lenz was the lucky winner of the 2011 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck that was raffled by Kalispell Public Schools as a fund-raiser to support a variety of programs and activities in the district.
Everyone we know was already calling the truck their own as soon as they paid $10 for their raffle ticket, but it was Lenz who managed to turn a dream into reality.
Congratulations to him, and especially to the school district, which raised $60,000 with the raffle this year, compared to $25,000 the previous year. And thanks to the folks at Kalispell Toyota for their generosity in creating an exciting tradition. This is the second year the dealership donated a vehicle as the prize, and already pledged to do so again next year.
Just maybe, that truck will have YOUR name on it.