School's Building Concept Is "Very New" To Valley - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

School's Building Concept Is "Very New" To Valley

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KALISPELL -

Glass garage doors and open group work space-- West Valley School is showing off some pretty cool plans for a more than 30,000 square foot addition.

Designers and teachers say this looks like an step into the 21st century that's basically unmatched in the Valley.

West Valley School is looking down right cramped these days.

You can find classrooms in some pretty unexpected places.

"If you were to walk around the school we have now you'd see the need for it. Just as simple as the fact we're changing closets to classrooms," said Cal Ketchum, the Superintendent of the West Valley School.

They have about 550 kids right now, but if they keep growing at 5% per year, they could be looking at more than 800 kids in ten years.

That's why the new addition is going to be so big: to take care of the need and be prepared for more.

After passing the $6.8 million bond this fall, Ketchum has been pleasantly surprised during the design process.

"I heard from all the other superintendents 'oh, now the work begins. This is the hard part,' but to tell you the truth, I've enjoyed it," said Ketchum.

The plans aren't final. They're close, though, and they hope to start building by August 1.

"It would be easy to slap on a bunch of classrooms, a hallway, and be done with it, but this is a building committee that's really interested in doing something different about the learning environment," said David Koel, one of the designers working on the new addition for the school.

"What we're hoping for is to do a lot of project-based learning type activities out there," explained Ketchum.

The idea is for a lot of teachers to share one central space with projection screens, comfy furniture, and glass garage doors sectioning off each classroom.

"When you talk about glass garage doors, that's a concept that is very, very new to this area," said Koel.

They're hoping to move in by the Fall of 2015.

They're still meeting weekly to work on construction plans.

Ketchum says the new space will for sure have a gym, a kitchen, and about 15 classrooms.

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