GREAT FALLS – The Great Falls Public Schools Foundation announced a $500,000 donation Monday that will help upgrade the new Great Falls High Career and Technical Education Center.
“The new building and equipment will make this career and technical education center the finest in Montana,” foundation executive director Dave Crum said.
Bob Oakland donated $500,000 for new equipment to be placed in automotive, welding, and woodworking classrooms.
“This donation is going to change lives. Not only for our students, but for our teachers and for our community. We can’t thank you enough,” GFH principal Heather Hoyer said.
The Oaklands are longtime supporters of Great Falls Public Schools and have given over $1.5 million.
In honor of the Oakland’s generosity, the foundation asked the board of trustees to name the new building the CTE Center Supported by the Oakland Family and asked to have signage to honor that name.
“These improvements are a win for our community. They will keep families in Great Falls and attract new families to Great Falls,” foundation chair Andrew Davidson said.
The board unanimously approved the name and signage.
After a number of people thanked the Oakland family, Bob Oakland had a few words to say.
“The last time I talked in a Great Falls Public School building was in 1944 when I represented Fort Benton High School in a legion public speaking. How I ever got there? I don’t know because I am not a public speaker,” Oakland said. “Thank all of you for all the kind things you’ve said about our family. We are thrilled to be able to be part of this community. I wouldn’t want to be living anywhere else in the world. This community has been very kind to us and we are so pleased that we are able to give back to it.”
Reporting by Elizabeth Transue for MTN News