District moves forward on high school roof repairs

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Whitefish High School is moving forward with a plan to utilize tax increment finance funds to replace an older section of the school’s roof.

The replacement is for the portion of the high school’s roof that was not included in the 2014 bond to construct the new high school building. At the time the life expectancy of the roof was still five years.

The portion of the roof planned for construction is the D wing of the school, which is the area directly connected to the gymnasium that was retained from the old high school building.

The project will be paid for by tax increment funds from the city of Whitefish, Superintendent Heather Davis Schmidt explained.

“Because we have access to our tax increment funding only until 2020, when those funds sunset, this is our last opportunity to do this without going to the voters and asking them to approve a bond for this project specifically,” Davis Schmidt said. “So therefore we have saved our money with this project in mind.”

The school district is currently accepting for bids for the project until April 25, after which the topic will return to the board for as an action item in a future meeting.

The new roof is expected help with better insulation, and will retain the look of the current roof, being made of metal and the same mansard shape as the current roof, according to the district.

Construction is expected to take place this summer, and the school’s Innovation Lab and Black Box Theater will be unavailable for summer camps and programs during construction.

The school board in December approved a budget amendment that allows the district to spend their reserves for maintenance projects and use tax increment funds as payments from the city to replenish those reserves.

The district set aside $700,000 in the elementary general fund and $400,000 in the high school budget.

Along with the roof, the board also pointed to replacing equipment, adding additional lockers, maintaining parking lots, refinishing gym floors and other maintenance items.

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