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Helena High School rendering

A rendering by SMA Architects and NAC Architecture of the proposed East Helena High School.

East Helena Public Schools will ask voters to approve the purchase of a 35-acre portion of Dartman Field to house its new high school.

If approved, the funds to purchase the $207,444 property will come from the $29.5 million bond voters approved last week to build the school. Taxpayers are not being asked to provide any additional funding. 

State law requires the district to get approval from voters in a special election because the property is not contiguous to existing school property. The ballots for that election will be mailed on July 6 and are due July 23.

East Helena's school board approved a purchase agreement for the property Monday, contingent on approval from voters.

Superintendent Ron Whitmoyer said the school board has a lot of work to do before the new high school is built. He said the school district asked for a significant amount of money, and he was encouraged that 61 percent of voters cast their ballots in favor of the new school. 

“It was loud and clear that you had been listening to your community correctly,” Whitmoyer told the board. 

Whitmoyer said the district will continue asking the community for input during the final design process. The goal is to have students in the new building by fall of 2020.

Board member changes

Incumbent school board member Kevin Bokovoy and new member Karen Goldsberry took an oath of office and were sworn in on Monday. Goldsberry previously represented East Helena on Helena's school board, but decided to run in East Helena this term with the assumption the bond would pass. As a new K-12 district, East Helena will lose its representation on Helena's school board July 1. Goldsberry replaced Joe Nye, who served for six years but opted not to run again.

The board was notified that Ann Marie Thompson, who is in the middle of her term, vacated her seat on the board of trustees after selling her home and moving out of the school district. Thompson said she’ll remain in the area to volunteer and will stay involved in the community.

The board has 60 days to find a replacement for her seat. Interested candidates should submit a letter of interest with their personal qualifications, reasons for wanting to be on the board and biographical information by 3 p.m. June 1. Applications can be dropped off at the district's central office or mailed to P.O. Box 1280, East Helena, MT 59635.

Board Chair Scott Walter was nominated to serve another year as board chair.

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