It was a magnificent moment last week for the Three Forks School District when they hosted a ribbon cutting to mark the completion of their two-year building project.
Moments before the event that also served as a kickoff for the 2023-24 school year, Superintendent Rhonda Uthlaut said at this time in 2022, they were scrambling with staff moving in and out of rooms, and now it is a brand-new start.
"Everybody is settled in their spaces and their rooms. I mean, the morale and the spirits are so much higher. This has been an incredible staff. They had all been displaced. They had to pack up and move out, but they are a team," Uthlaut said.
School Board Chair Lori Sayers said she is thankful for the new construction and happy for students, teachers, and staff.
"We have ample room for our students to learn. We've got a great and safe building, and hopefully, this will last us for a while. We are very appreciative of the community support," Sayers said.
Uthlaut also lauded the community for passing the $25 million bond in May 2020.
"Just the fact the community had the faith in the district to put this bond through, and I feel we have been good stewards of it. We have stretched the dollar to get the best bang for the buck. We have some nice new additions, and we have been creative with different grants and donations," she said.
Along with the money raised from the bonds, Uthlaut said they used federal money, including ESSER funding for windows. She added they also used extra bond money to redo the roof. The district also used funding for a new playground.
"The building is set up so that we are good for a while. We are in good shape. I want to say how appreciative I am for what the community has done. And our staff, I have been in education for 30 plus years and have never seen such a group of people pull together. I don't think everybody realizes every single teacher had to move classrooms to temporary spaces, and they did it with such a fine attitude. They pulled it off for the kids. The best part about this is that for years to come, children here are going to benefit. This is all for the kids," Uthlaut said.