Whitefish passes bond to build new elementary school

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Muldown Elementary students burn off some energy on the playground Tuesday afternoon.

Voters in Whitefish School District approved $26.5 million in bonds to build a new elementary school and retain portions of Muldown Elementary in a mail-ballot election that concluded Tuesday.

According to unofficial results, 2,399 voters, or 61.40 percent, supported the bond issue and 1,508, or 38.60 percent, rejected it. There were 9,488 ballots mailed out to active, registered voters.

Taxpayers who own a home with a taxable value of $200,000 can expect annual property taxes to increase by $130.

The bond issue will fund construction of an 84,000-square-foot school to replace the aging Muldown building and accommodate up to 756 students. With current enrollment hovering around 700 students, Muldown is already the largest kindergarten through fourth-grade elementary in Montana.

The new school will be located south of Whitefish High School. The portions of Muldown to be retained include a kindergarten wing, a first- and second-grade wing and the gym for later repurposing.

The next step is to start the design process, according to district Superintendent Heather Davis Schmidt. Davis Schmidt said the district and the school board was grateful for the community’s investment in children.

“A huge thank you to the community for supporting and recognizing such an important need for our kids and our schools,” Davis Schmidt said. “We’re very grateful.”

Reporter Hilary Matheson may be reached at 758-4431 or hmatheson@dailyinterlake.com.

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