(HELENA) The East Helena School District has chosen an architect to help them with preliminary plans for a possible new high school.

During their Monday meeting, school board members selected SMA Architects of Helena. SMA was one of eight firms that applied for the job, and one of five finalists the board interviewed.

Superintendent Ron Whitmoyer said the contract will cover the next three months. During that time, he said SMA will help determine what features the new school needs to include and how much it could cost. They will also produce initial artistic renderings of what the school might look like.

Whitmoyer said SMA’s input will help the district outline what impacts a new high school would have on taxpayers and give them a better idea of where the school could be located.

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“This will help lead us to a piece of property we can really move forward with negotiations on,” he said.

East Helena voters approved moving forward with a possible high school in an initial vote last month. District leaders hope to put together a bond proposal early next year and put it before voters as soon as May.

If the bond issue passes, Whitmoyer said the district will award a separate contract for the final design of the school.