Like most of the other 15 facilities in the Helena School District, Broadwater Elementary School is aging and needs repairs and upgrades.
School board trustees listened to those needs during a facility assessment report at a work session earlier this week. In total, the district is looking at around $3 million in repairs to the school over the next 15 years.
Two large expenditures at the school are a new roof and a new boiler.
The single hot-water boiler that heats the 29,440-square-foot building is running at around 80 percent efficiency, and the entire roof will need to be replaced in five to 10 years. Those two items alone could cost $1 million or more.
John Carter, the school district’s director of support services, uses Wyoming’s education specifications to determine what is adequate for the buildings since Montana doesn’t have its own specifications.
The site, at 2.46 acres for 278 students and 43 staff members, is 36 percent of recommended size, according to those specifications (6.78 acres is recommended).
The building was originally constructed in 1942 and has had two additions — one in 1949 and another in 1970. There is no parking lot for the school, so families, staff and visitors park along the nearby streets. Carter said that during events such as holiday programs, vehicles are parked several blocks down to Benton Avenue, but principal Sue Johnson said nearby residents are generous and she doesn’t get many complaints.
The school is not compliant with the American Disabilities Act. The gym is only accessible when staff puts in a temporary ramp.
“We make accommodations for students by bringing the services to them,” Carter said. “This site would need an elevator to make it ADA compliant.”
Ventilation doesn’t meet current standards and only a portion of the building is equipped with a sprinkler system. The classroom space is 80 percent of recommended size, and although the assembly space is adequate, a separate space for a gym and a cafeteria is recommended.
The district has almost completed facility assessments on all its buildings, which has been a new two-year commitment. Next month, trustees will hear an assessment on Four Georgians Elementary, which is the district’s newest building. That work session is at 5 p.m. on April 27.
Alana Listoe: 447-4081 or email@example.com