Lolo School Sells for $4.1 Million, New School to Open in 2023
Lolo School officials were ecstatic when the community finally approved the new school bond issue in 2020, and the next step in that process was announced on Monday after the old school property was officially sold for $4.1 million to a developer.
KGVO News spoke to Lolo School Superintendent Dale Olinger on Monday who provided details of the sale.
“In September of 2020, the bonds passed with a two-part ballot measure,” began Olinger. “One was ‘is the school authorized to sell bonds to build a school’ and part two was ‘can the school district sell the old school property in order to help pay for it?’ We've got about 30 acres plus or minus right there on Highway 93. It's roughly 700 feet of highway frontage and the hillside behind it and then the hillside sort of to the south that curves around to the west behind Lolo Creek Steakhouse.”
Olinger reflected on the fact that the current Lolo School began with one small schoolhouse, but several other buildings were cobbled together over the years to serve the growing student population.
“Since Lolo was a one-room schoolhouse, there hasn't been a Lolo school that has been under one roof,” he said. “So for at least since the 1960s when they were starting to do additions on to the original schoolhouse, Lolo School has been in multiple buildings, so our teachers don't always get to see each other and our kids have to change buildings all the time. So, just the idea of being under one roof is going to be completely foreign to some of our staff who actually started their teaching careers at Lolo School.”
Olinger provided more details about the sale of the school property.
“It sold for $4.1 million, and that was actually our asking price,” he said. “We feel very happy that we were able to get what the school district thought the property was worth. The buyer is an LLC called MCG Vines. But the parent company is actually well versed in the development world. They've done developments in multiple states including Montana, so I assume that they'll do something with housing or multi-use but I couldn't speak to how they're going to use the property for sure.”
Olinger said the new school building won’t be as large as the original plans called for, but will still have plenty of room for growth for the Lolo community.
“We didn't get to build as much school as we had hoped for during the pre-bond process, exclusively in response to the rising cost of materials and construction,” he said. “However, we are able to build a more than sufficient school. The capacity, if everything were distributed evenly, is right around 700 students, and if we were moving in today, we'd have just around 550. So we do have some room to expand our population without being full the moment we opened the doors.”
Olinger gave kudos to Katie Ward with Pure West Real Estate for negotiating with the buyers to get the full asking price of $4.1 million for the old school property.
The new school is being built by Jackson contractors and is scheduled to open for the new school year of 2023-2024.
Here are some photos of what the new school will look like: