East Helena to decide on $29.5 million bond in May

After a slight nervous pause on Monday night, the importance of the moment hitting them, the East Helena Board of Trustees voted unanimously to take the next step in the potential building of a high school.

The board passed a motion to put before voters a $29.5 million bond in a May 8 mail-ballot election. That would fund the purchase of land and construction of the building, along with associated costs such as roads, utilities, parking lots, playing fields and bleachers.

If the bond passes, the goal is to have construction started by the end of the year with plans to start a freshman class in the high school in the fall of 2020.

If voters reject the bond, the districts can’t ask again for five years.

East Helena has been able to pursue the idea because of legislation passed last year that allows elementary school districts with more than 1,000 students to ask voters if they want to expand to a high school district.

Lockwood, just outside of Billings, is also planning to put a bond before voters. The board there is expected to finalize a $49 million bond request during a meeting on Feb. 26.