SMA Architects
East Helena High

Construction of East Helena (Mont.) High School moves forward

April 21, 2020
The district expects the new high school will be ready for students for the 2020-21 school year.

Just over a year after an official groundbreaking, the new East Helena High School in East Helena, Mont., is beginning to take shape.

KTVH-TV reports that because public works construction is considered essential during the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, work on the school has continued the last few weeks.

Crews have begun installing fixtures in classrooms and made progress on the library and gym. Much of the outside work has already been completed.

“It’s just awfully exciting to watch this,” says East Helena Public Schools Superintendent Ron Whitmoyer. “What I want to see most of all is the kids’ reaction when they walk in here the first day.”

So far, leaders say the coronavirus hasn’t had much impact on the timeline for construction. Whitmoyer says Dick Anderson Construction reported some concerns about getting supplies, but delays so far have been minimal. Crews are using hand sanitizer, often working in small teams and spreading around the building.

“These guys have had a good plan on how to deal with this, and they’ve done very well,” Whitmoyer says.

Ninth-grade students in East Helena were already going through an unusual situation – spending their freshman year taking classes in East Valley Middle School, while they wait for the new building to be finished.

Leaders expect the new high school to be ready for students by the time the next school year starts, though Whitmoyer says there may be some small work left that can be done while classes are in the building.

District administrators don’t yet know when they’ll return to in-person classes, but Whitmoyer says he expects they will still have to do some social distancing at that time. Opening the new building could help accomplish that, because the initial plan calls for moving only two grades into a school built for four.

“The more space we have to spread out in, the healthier everyone will probably stay,” Whitmoyer says.

Video Flyover of East Helena High (SMA Architects):

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