Many schools in the Missoula school district are in desperate need of renovations and/or replacement to meet the structural and technological demands of our time.
I was born in 1959 on the fifth floor of the old St. Patrick Hospital on Broadway. Like many of our schools, it was a fine facility at the time but outlived its usefulness and needed to be replaced with a modern facility.
As the principal of Franklin Elementary from 2006-2011, we faced many day-to-day challenges educating students in a building built in 1916. When I arrived in 2006, the Franklin school had no computer lab. We moved a couple classrooms around and we were able to find a room. We even “begged” for old computers no longer being used in the district. Old furniture was also scavenged from storage buildings in the district. We hit a snag when the electricians were called to provide power. The capacity to add new outlets was stretched to the limit to add the 25 computers. This was not surprising in a building that was built shortly after electricity came to the Garden City.
The 8,800 students of Missoula County Public Schools deserve better than continuing to stretch the limits of our aging buildings and trying to do things with them that they were never designed to do. It is time to fix all our schools, not just Franklin. It is time to invest in our kids, Missoula and our future. It is the responsible thing to do.
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Michael F. Williams,
former principal (2006-2011),