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Central School

home of the tigers

Calendar of Events:

The Helena School District has selected SMA Architects to design the new Central School. A crucial part of the design process is gathering ideas and input from educators, students, parents and community members.


Since the passage of the bond election in early May, the architects, in collaboration with Central School Principal John Stilson, have organized a series of meetings with:

  • teachers to understand the needs of teachers and specialists working in the school;

  • students to envision a welcoming, kid-friendly educational environment; and

  • parents and community members to focus on meeting the needs of Central School families and their neighbors.


On this webpage, you will find a listing of upcoming meetings related to the design and development of the new Central School. We encourage you to attend these meetings and to submit comments and ideas as the process moves forward.  


In recognition of the historic significance of Central School in Helena’s history, the Helena School District has also created the Central School Advisory Committee made up of parents, community members, and experts in historic preservation. They will help guide the parts of the current building that can be incorporated into a new Central School. We want the school to be a jewel in the downtown neighborhood while remaining respectful of its historical roots and the community it resides in. To get involved or to suggest a comment, please message us here.


View Project Timeline

Open Houses for the three new schools


Stop by between 9am and 4pm to enjoy guided tours of the brand new schools and speak with contractors, students, educators, and administrators. 

Ribbon Cutting Ceremonies


3:00 p.m. – Jim Darcy

4:00 p.m. – Central

5:00 p.m. – Bryant

Building Committee


Central/Linc Library

3:30  p.m.


Design Development Meetings w/ Staff


Oct 24th-26th


Central School Community Update


Holter Museum

12 E Lawrence

5:30-7:30 PM


At this meeting, we will cover Schematic Design developments, including exterior options for the look of the building, as well as some plan layouts.

Building Committee


Central/Linc Library

3  p.m.


Central School Community Update


Holter Museum

12 E Lawrence

5:30-7:30 PM


At this meeting, we will cover Schematic Design developments, including exterior options for the look of the building, as well as some plan layouts.

Building Committee


Central/Linc Library

2625 Winne Ave

4 PM

Central Ice cream Social


6-7 p.m.
In front of Central School at the Corner of Warren Street & 8th Ave


Central Demolition Begins


7 a.m.


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Since 1981, SMA Architects has provided architectural services to civic, county, institutional, private and commercial clients throughout the intermountain west.  Led by Jason M. Davis, Tim Meldrum and Klint Fisher, SMA is committed to providing the best possible project, all while ensuring the process is enjoyable.  Their energy, combined with SMA’s incredibly talented staff, has allowed SMA to steadily expand over the past five years, including offices in Helena and Bozeman. SMA truly believes we are in the business of not only designing great buildings, but more importantly, building relationships with our clients.   


At SMA we see our goal as bringing function and beauty together in buildings that express the vision of clients. Moreover, we’re committed to doing it within agreed-upon budgets and time lines. Creatively designing functional facilities to serve the people who use them is the driving force behind our practice. It is paramount to us that we are of maximum service to each client and that our ideas and solutions meet their individual needs.


SMA Architects has teamed with NAC Architecture, nationally-recognized education design specialists, to design a successful and responsible Central Elementary School.




View Building



Construction Update July 9, 2019
We're beginning to look like a school!  Concrete has been poured recently - or will be poured soon for "learning steps" and an outdoor basketball court, and concrete is being  stained and polished around the school.  An old archway from the back of the old school and a wall from Helena High School have made their way into the new school.  Though the gym is virtually complete, one more layer of finish is slated to be added.  

Construction Update June 21, 2019
All curbing and playground equipment have been installed.  Painting continues on the interior and fixtures are being installed.  Each day from now until the beginning of August will bring drastic changes.


Construction Update April 19, 2019
Central School alumni were able to sign the concrete that will be beneath the gym floor.  Attendees ranged from age, but most were current middle school and high school students.

Construction Update February 28, 2019

It may be cold and snowy but the work continues at the new Central School. Windows are in and sheet rock is going up inside. Painting has also started.

Construction Update October 25, 2018

Work continues at the new Central School.  The exterior of the gym is being prepped for siding.  Langlas Construction is excited that all of the retaining walls are complete.  This was a huge accomplishment given that the drop from Warren Street to Lawrence Street is 40 feet.  Roofing is scheduled to start in the next two to three weeks.  Steel is going up on the academic wing and the final steel for the entire second floor will follow.  Slab on deck concrete pours will continue to occur throughout the building on the second floor.  The parking lot and delivery drive will be paved at some point in the future.

Construction Update September 27, 2018
Langlas Construction, the contractor building the new Central School, states the project is right on schedule and the building should be completely enclosed by the end of December. There has definitely been a lot of excited interest in the project especially with the steel going vertical. The framers will be starting on site soon and the building will really start to take shape. 

Be sure to join the Langlas team and others for an update on the project scheduled for 6:00 p.m. on October 4, 2018, at the First Baptist Church on 201 8th Avenue.

Construction Update September 14, 2018

Central Elementary continues to move forward. The majority of the first floor, stage, and gymnasium slabs are complete.  Concrete continues to be poured for retaining walls throughout the site.  Over 2100 cubic yards of concrete have been poured on the Central School project so far.  The west wing steel installation has started and will be the structure for the Montessori classrooms on the first floor, library, and the fifth grade classrooms on second floor.  The 102 foot long gym joists have been installed.  Steel will continue to be erected through the month of September. 

As of Tuesday, July 31st, 2018: Work continues as planned at Central.  The project is on schedule.  A considerable amount of concrete work has been completed and work on erecting beams is beginning.

As of Friday, March 2nd, 2018, the above flier was sent out to notify the Central and Lincoln area community of the dates that construction will begin and end at Central Elementary School. 

Langlas & Associates will conduct project construction activities beginning in early March of 2018 and concluding in the summer of 2019. Temporary street closures will occur at specific times throughout the project. Watch this page and Helena Public School's social media for updates regarding this project.

Please don't hesitate to reach out with questions or comments.

Ben Flanagan, Onsite Superintendent (646) 318-6836

Joe Clark, Project Manager (406) 656-0629


Central Rendering

Construction Project Manager:  Joe Clark with Langlas & Associates General Contractors


Joe Clark will be Langlas and Associates’ Project Manager for the new Central School.  Joe is responsible for ensuring the entire project’s success starting with preconstruction services through on-site construction operations. Overall project responsibilities include start-up, strategy, value engineering, scheduling, work progress, establishing and maintaining relationships with subcontractors, job quality and job cost controls.


Joe works closely as part of the integral team with the District, the District’s Owners Rep, the SMA Architecture and all of the other design professionals throughout the entire project.


Langlas, a Montana based business,  has provided construction management services for 44 years.  Langlas has a total of 23 education related projects completed and/or under contract in the last 9 years.  Joe has been with Langlas and Associates for 12 years.  He has a B.S. in Construction Engineering from Montana State University.



As this planning process continues, we will have more to share with you from initial design concepts to groundbreaking ceremonies. Follow us on Facebook, sign up for updates, and check for new postings on this website. We are excited for the months to come and look forward to sharing it with you every step of the way.





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