MCPS continues work on school expansions, improvements


MISSOULA, Mont. - Last month NBC Montana told you that Missoula County Public School leaders are launching an assessment to find out which schools need improving or expansion. This week school administrators opened the floor to the public and students to find out what changes they want to see happen. At a meeting Wednesday evening the public had the opportunity to speak with school leaders about the assessment. We talked to residents and teachers who say with a growing student population, some schools need work and more room for students to learn and they are glad school leaders are taking steps to improve facilities. Leslie Gallant is a family resource officer at Lowell Elementary School and she tells us she's excited people have come up with numerous ideas to improve and expand Missoula schools. "We really are stretched thin," says Gallant. "Every space is used, there are classrooms that have been sliced in half and closets converted to little testing rooms." All day Monday and Tuesday students, teachers and the public wrote down the concerns they have about different schools in the district -- a need for school gardens, better internet service, easier access to drop off students and more lights at crosswalks are a few of the suggestions. "I think it's really important for students to have that hands-on experience too," Gallant tells us. "To have that space, to have gardens to go outside to, and to have space to move around their classroom and to learn." At a meeting next month administrators will formalize the ideas the public put forth, as well as showcase how other school districts across the county have handled growing student populations. These are initial brainstorming meetings that are laying out the needs of the schools -- no discussion of cost or logistics has been brought up yet. The next public meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, November 6. Administrators have not yet decided the meeting's location.