HELENA- Monday afternoon marked a significant milestone in the construction of the new Central School Building.
Students, educators and members of the community 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. The beam was covered in the handprints of the school’s future students.
“The raising of the last beam really signifies the end of the steelwork 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 were 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 it’s “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 says 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 that 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.