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The Helena Public Schools Board of Trustees unanimously voted Friday to name the new Central School Library after former superintendent Jack Copps.

"Few public servants in Montana have impacted their communities in the same manner as George "Jack" Copps," meeting documents said. 

Copps worked as a public servant in Montana for nearly 60 years. At different times in his career, Copps was named the superintendent of Helena and Billings and the deputy superintendent for the state of Montana before retiring in 2014. But, in 2016 Copps came back to Helena and helped pass a $63 million school bond in May 2017 that helped build three new elementary schools in Helena, including the new Central School. 

The board chose the library for symbolic reasons: it serves as a "hub of learning within the school" and looks across the Helena Valley and up to Mount Helena, representing "the breadth and impact of Jack Copps's dedication, service and leadership," the meeting report said. 

The board had to make a change in order to name the building after Copps. Previous language had prohibited naming facilities after Helena Public Schools employees until they had been gone from the organization for five years. The board cut that down to a single year waiting period.

Trustee Libby Goldes said because Central School had such significance for the Helena community, the board was "especially excited" the library there would take the Copps name. 

Trustee Jeff Hindoien echoed Goldes.

"(Copps) made real deal contributions to the state and community," he said. 

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Crime and Health Reporter

Crime and health reporter for the Helena Independent Record.

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