Work on old Muldown building site continues

by WHITNEY ENGLAND
Reporter | November 25, 2020 1:00 AM

The new Muldown Elementary School was finished prior to the school year beginning, however construction is still ongoing on the old Muldown building.

According to the Whitefish School District’s owner’s representative Dow Powell, who presented an update during a school board meeting on Nov.10, most of the work currently being completed on the old school site is related to buttoning up the old kindergarten wing and laying the foundation work for the new maintenance and receiving building.

The district is keeping the old kindergarten wing to eventually use it as extra classroom space, or a potential expansion for preschool and kindergarten classes. Powell said the original plan was to fix the heating system and perform light remodels to this wing, which he now refers to as the annex, in order to close it up and preserve it from the elements.

Powell said updated electrical and plumbing were installed recently alongside a new boiler heating system. The previous 50-year old boiler was one of the largest concerns that led to the approval of a new school building.

“We’ll have an efficient, good heating system going forward that will last many, many years,” Powell said.

Also the walls of the annex affected by the demolition of the rest of the building have been buttoned up and the stucco was repaired, now ready for paint.

Since the project is still right on budget with $623,986 remaining in the district’s contingency fund, Powell is hopeful that they can use some of the money leftover to make the annex a functional, usable space rather than just an extra building.

“We anticipate that we might have a little bit of money to further along that annex to being a usable building rather than just buttoned up and kept at 55 degrees,” Powell said. “We have looked at all the things that might have to happen and [the general contractor] Martell is pricing all those things out individually. It would be nice to have that pretty easily usable for the district for whatever it might need.”

The other major project is the construction of the maintenance and receiving building. Powell said he expects the steel structure to arrive soon and is hopeful to have the frame up by mid-December.

In terms of the new Muldown building there have been minor adjustments needed, such as a change in programming of the energy efficient lighting system that turns off when there is little movement in the classrooms, and Powell said for those things it's been nice to have Martell still on site. The new school building has also had a few additions such as window shades in the library, more technology improvements, and extra shelving and storage.

“We’re fortunate on this particular project that we went through this pretty much on budget and the district carried a contingency for the entire job,” Powell said. “It has helped us be able to do some of these other things that have come up that would be nice to have.”

Powell said he expects Martell Construction to continue working on the project for at least the next several months.

The Whitefish School District in 2017 received a voter-approved $26.3 million bond to build the new school, which opened its doors on Aug. 26.

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The old Muldown Elementary School building’s kindergarten wing undergoing remodels this fall. (Photo courtesy of Whitefish School District)

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The old Muldown's kindergarten wing is buttoned up and the stucco is repaired as it awaits a fresh coat of paint in November. (Photo courtesy of Whitefish School District)

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The old Muldown's kindergarten wing undergoing remodels this fall. (Photo courtesy of Whitefish School District)