Workers put finishing touches on new Whitefish High School


KALISPELL, Mont. - It's been a little over a year since renovations began on the new building at Whitefish High School and it's almost complete.

With the school year just around the corner, workers are putting the finishing touches on the new building.

NBC Montana got a tour of the new facilities and got to see the rooms that are move-in ready.

"The school is set up kind of like a college, with collaborative areas," said project manager Dow Powell.

Each wing of the building has seven classrooms and three collaborative learning areas. These areas allow classes to split up so students can work together, or even have classes work together in a common area.

Powell says this improvement was much needed.

"They just had outlived their time and Whitefish needed a new school and we want to be in the 21st century and beyond learning," Powell said.

Each classroom will have a laptop so students don't have to go the computer labs. Instead, they can work with a teacher in real time.

It has been 15 months since construction began and students and faculty can't wait to move in.

"Everybody is very excited. The administration of the high school gave all the classes last winter tours through the school so these students would see what was coming up. Everybody's very excited about it," said Powell.

They aren't the only ones -- parents who live in the area are also thrilled.

"I think it will be great for our kids when they're older," said Whitefish resident Darcie Blanden.

They say it is money well spent.

"It's nice to see our tax money go towards something for the children," Blanden said.

In the meantime, boxes from the old building are waiting to be unpacked. Teachers will start organizing their new classrooms after August 1. The building will be ready for students this September.

The project has a $22.5 million price tag. Some of the money came from the school district, with help from private donors and the City of Whitefish.