GFPS selling Roosevelt Elementary, Campfire house

This story was updated 2:30 p.m. July 19.

Great Falls Public Schools selling the former Roosevelt Elementary School and the Campfire house near Great Falls HIgh School.

The school board approved resolutions in early July of their intent to sell the properties.

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There was a 14 day protest period that ended July 15 and no protests were filed.

As part of the $98 million facilities bond that voters approved in 2016, Giant Springs Elementary School was constructed to replace Roosevelt, 2501 2nd Ave. N., and it served as a temporary school during construction. Roosevelt also served as the remote instruction center during COVID-19, which shut down in-person learning for a time and some students opted for remote learning.

“It has been determined that it is no longer suitable for district use,” according to the staff report from Brian Patrick, GFPS director of business operations.

Under state law, “the trustees of a district that has adopted a resolution to sell or otherwise dispose of district real or personal property shall sell or dispose of the real or personal property in any reasonable manner that they determine to be in the best interests of the district. The money realized from the sale or disposal of real or personal property of the district must be credited to the debt service fund, building fund, general fund, or other appropriate fund, at the discretion of the trustees.”

Patrick said that the school board will determine the appropriate fund after the sale of Roosevelt has been completed.

The Campfire house property was purchased with bond funds with the intent to add more parking by Great Falls High School, but zoning issues and costs to create the parking stopped the project. The district has since worked with the City of Great Falls to use a portion of Kranz Park to create more space for parking near Great Falls High.

Patrick told The Electric that the district had discussions with its bond counsel regarding the sale of the Campfire building since it was purchased with bond funds. The direction from counsel was that since the original intent of that purchase was for parking that it would be in the best interest of the district to use funds from that sale for parking.

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Proceeds from the sale of the Campfire house will be used toward the new parking lot on school property next to Memorial Stadium, according to Patrick’s staff report.

There was some discussion years ago about letting Alliance for Youth use the Campfire building, but according to Patrick, bond counsel advised against it since it was purchased with bond money specifically for parking.

Patrick said he’s working on the process to sell the properties, but that they will go on the market. We’ll update the story as the process solidifies.