top of page

Tyler's Corner


It's Official! The Jack Copps Library will find its home in Central School

It's with great pleasure that we as a district announce the naming of the library at Central School the Jack Copps Library.  While it is impossible to fully acknowledge and represent the impact that Jack Copps has made on the Helena Public Schools and our Helena community, employee, community members and Trustees have expressed a desire to honor the service of Mr. Copps through the naming of a district facility. After much consideration, the library at the new Central Elementary School became the facility of choice due to its symbolic nature. First, the library serves as the hub of learning within the school and represents the vital element of childhood literacy. Second, the views from the windows of the Central Library expand across Helena from the downtown, to Mount Helena and across the Helena Valley. From a symbolic sense, this view represents the breadth and impact of Jack Copps’s dedication, service and leadership.

Together with his friends and family, we hope you can join us for a ceremony in his honor at 5:00pm on Friday, August 23, immediately following the Central School Ribbon Cutting.


Elementary Schools' Groundbreaking

We’re excited to announce the groundbreaking for our three elementary schools supported by our school bond funds. We will be breaking ground on March 21, 2018, at each of our schools with our neighbors, students, supporters, and you! We know how hard Helenans worked to help us say yes to Helena schools and we are proud to share this moment of progress with you all.


Groundbreaking ceremonies:

Bryant School                              Jim Darcy School                   Central School

9:00 a.m.                                     11:00 a.m.                              1:30 p.m.

1529 Boulder Avenue                 990 Lincoln Road                   402 N Warren

Helena, MT                                 Helena, MT                              Helena, MT

For more information, contact Barb Ridgway at (406) 324-2006.

- Jack


City Commission Votes to Close Sanders Street

The City Commissioners voted last Monday to close a portion of Sanders Street allowing a direct connection between the new Bryant School and the new school gym.  This was a critical component of the overall school design and I want to thank the Commissioners for their support. 


One half of the street between Boulder and Livingston will be closed and the remaining half block will remain open.  The design below illustrates how the space will be used.  The portion outlined in red is the area that was abandoned.  It will enable the building of an walkway over the former street as well as create a new front entrance on Livingston for the new Bryant School as noted in this illustration.


- Jack


Safety and Security Projects On Schedule

Safety and security projects included in the Spring bond are underway.  Warren School was the first to see major changes including a new secure vestibule entryway.  Entrance into the building will now be controlled and will require that visitors be buzzed into the school.  The Warren office area has also been remodeled to accommodate the new security protocols.


In January our goal is to seek bids for the next six safety and security projects scheduled for Four Georgians, Rossiter, Helena Middle School, C. R. Anderson Middle School, Broadwater and Smith.


Be sure to follow our progress on Facebook and the District website.


- Jack


Schematic Design Phase Coming to a Close

The Schematic Design phase for the new schools is wrapping up.  This first phase of the process defined the general scope and conceptual design of each school including the scale and relationships between building components.  The drawings completed during this phase also provided a general concept of the exterior of each of the schools.  It has been exciting to see the designs evolve.  I believe you will be as pleased as I am with the results.  Check them out here:



We will soon begin the phase called Design Development or DD.  During DD all aspects of each school’s design will be described.  This includes but is not limited to; mechanical, plumbing, electrical, and architectural.  Our Owner’s Rep will work with the various architects and construction managers to determine costs, energy efficiency options, any additional improvements, and preliminary construction materials.  At the end of this process, the District will have drawings that very specifically define the site plan, floor plans, exterior elevations and more.


Be sure to follow our progress on Facebook and the District website.

- Jack


Thanks Helena for a Successful Bond Sale

Great news!  All bonds for the new elementary school were recently sold.  We know a lot of the bonds were purchased by people in the Helena area and we are grateful that we have such a supportive community.


The sale proved to be very attractive to a variety of investors.  The 2.92% interest rate was very appealing and was lower than the rate a number of other AA districts received for their projects.  The rating we received says something about the good name of our community and school district.



- Jack


Board of Trustees Selects General Contractors

The Board of Trustees has approved the general contractors and construction managers (GCCM) for each of the new elementary schools.  Dick Anderson Construction will be the general contractor / construction manager for the Jim Darcy and Bryant School projects.  Langlas and Associates was selected to be the general contractor / construction manager for Central School.   Construction on all three schools is expected to begin this Spring.


I want to thank the members of the selection committee for their commitment and willingness to put in long hours reviewing proposals and interviewing contractors.  I very much appreciate their efforts!  


- Jack


Surplusing Items from Central School

I have been asked several times if the District will be surplusing items from Central School before it is demolished.  The committee charged with identifying items to be saved and incorporated into a new structure or included on the campus is in the process of finalizing their work.  In the meantime, all furniture has been removed and the only remaining nonstructural item is the bell which will be removed and incorporated into the new school.  Internal doors and internal windows will be removed as well.  Consideration is being given to selling the bricks after the building is demolished with the proceeds to be divided between the Helena Education Foundation and the Angel Fund.

- Jack


Final Bryant Property Acquired

The Board of Trustees met on June 23, 2017, to finalize the purchase of the last piece of property on the Bryant block.  This purchase increased the size of the Bryant property from 1.9 acres to more than 3 acres.  Prior to these purchases, Bryant had the smallest school campus in the District.  This purchase provides more flexibility and options as we move into the design phase for the new Bryant School.




Land Acquired

We are making great progress on expanding the property boundaries at Jim Darcy and Bryant. These expansions are critical as we work to determine the actual siting of the new schools.This week the Board approved the purchase of four lots next to Jim Darcy. They also authorized the purchase of two of three homes remaining on the city block where Bryant is located.  The Jim Darcy lots will allow the District to separate bus traffic and parent pickup and drop off from staff parking.  Additionally, the purchase of the lot east of Jim Darcy will provide much needed access to Montana Avenue. Bryant is the smallest school property in the District.  Any expansion will provide much needed options for siting the new school.



Programming Phase

We are wrapping up the first phase of the project which was programming. This phase included facility tours, interview sessions with key stakeholders, and community meetings at all three of the schools. The architects are completing the programming research which will result in educational specifications or ed specs. When we receive the ed specs we will impose standards for some key spaces like gyms, classrooms, cafeterias and hallways. Once the standards are applied to the ed specs then phase two or the schematic design phase will begin. If you are interested, we hope you will take advantage of our web site to stay informed about opportunities to get involved and provide feedback.




Thank You Helena

Thank you to everyone who lives within the Helena School District for your generous support of the recent bond.  The successful bond allows us to build generational investments in support of public education in Helena.  As we begin this journey we welcome your involvement.  A calendar of all events will be posted on our web site and Facebook. We are well on our way and work is progressing. Architects have been working with parents, teachers and community members to help design the perfect fit for each of our neighborhood schools.  Students had opportunities before school ended to get involved with initial planning.  Just as the buildings themselves are important so too are the learning opportunities for students.  


Please let us know if you have any comments, questions or concerns. My door is always open.



Please reload


Tyler Ream, Ed.D


bottom of page