Though today wasn’t the first day of school for students, it was the first day for Missoula’s Jeannette Rankin Elementary School. Students had been attending Cold Springs Elementary, but changed locations on Monday, November 12 . According to Superintendent Mark Thane, the switch occurred without a hitch.

"I couldn't have asked for a smoother transition this morning," Thane said.  "I think the staff and all the district personnel from O&M and the movers, e.t.c, did an amazing job of front-end loading. I spent an hour and a half or so over there this morning, and the buses flowed smoothly, parents and students arrived with smiling faces and within about the first 15 minutes or so, it was business as usual."

Though students were happy to have a new playground and teachers were happy with a modern, clean facility, there was a little sadness for many parents who would not be taking their kids to Cold Springs Elementary any longer. School has been in session at the Cold Springs Elementary location since the early 1890's.

"Cold Springs was brought into Missoula School District One a number of years ago after originally being an independent school in the county," Thane said. "There is history of about 100 years of a building on that site. The original school house burned, but it's replacement still exists and many people regard it as a building with historical significance for the south-side."

The "replacement" school house is a brick two-room school built in 1930, which has many other hallways and buildings tacked onto it. Thane says the buildings will continue to stand and the school district is currently looking for someone that can rent the facilities.

photo by Peter Christian