Monday afternoon marked a significant milestone on the construction of the new Central School Building.
Students, educators, and community members gathered at the construction site on North Warren Street to witness the “topping out” ceremony.
Workers placed the last large steel beam at the top of the new building, which was covered with the handprints of the school’s future students.
“The raising of the last beam really signifies the end of the steel work and starts the new phase of construction,” said Superintendent of Helena Public Schools Tyler Ream. “This is the third iteration of central school and we’re really trying to honor all of the students and educators that where here.”
In 2017, voters approved a $63 million bond issue to pay for new facilities at Central, Bryant, and Jim Darcy Schools.
Central is the last school to have its “topping out” ceremony and all three schools are expected to be ready for the 2019-2020 school year.
At Monday’s event, Central School’s principal John Stilson thanked the Helena community for passing the bond that made the new school possible and said the whole school is excited to continue the legacy of the institution.
“Central School is the first graded school in Montana, that’s a legacy, and that’s something we take seriously,” said Stilson. “The student’s education and social-emotional growth is the most important thing to us and we’re all very excited for the new building.”
Stilson said several historical features such as the school bell, part of the “humpty dumpty” wall, and original archways have been reclaimed and incorporated into the new building.
The new iteration of Central School will be four times the size of the previous building.
-Reported by John Riley/MTN News