Missoula alternative high school's new building opens

    Pictured is Willard Alternative High School Program's new building and it is the only new high school building for Missoula County. (NBC Montana Photo)

    Willard Alternative High School students in Missoula just checked out their brand new digs. The new building is part of a $158 million 2020 bond approved by voters.

    Administrators said one of the most noticeable differences between the old and new building is the lighting. The building has plenty of more natural light, which adds to the brightness.

    The construction project took longer than school officials expected, but now that the new building is open, students are excited.

    "I'm going to Willard, and the new school seems to be way better than the last one and has a lot new electronics and stuff," said student Shawn Lamere.

    It's about 25,000 square feet, which is about 2,000 more than the old building. The building has larger classrooms, a large library, rooms for a science lab, experiments and more.

    There's a learning staircase that doubles as an auditorium.

    There are 150 students attending Willard now, but the new building can hold about 250.

    This is the only high school construction project where they got a whole new building.

    "They are having to make do in the quirky old building, and so I think it's really nice for them to be able to flip that narrative to have a sparkling new state-of-the-art building to fulfill their needs," said Missoula County Public Schools spokeswoman Hatton Littman.

    The project is not over yet. The old school building still needs to be demolished later this year, and then there will be a new parking lot, basketball courts and a park.

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