The Montana Historical Society presented their biennial preservation awards at the Myrna Loy Center in Helena Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. The award to Billings Public Schools, the Governor’s Award, was the last and capstone recognition of the four projects that received awards for 2017. It was a celebratory event attended by 150-200 people. Bruce Whittenberg, Director of the Montana Historical Society, acted as emcee and host.
Whittenberg is also a CTA client for the Montana Heritage Center project, which is included in the infrastructure funding bill being considered by the 2017 legislature. Whittenberg noted the Heritage Center has ascended to number two on Gov. Bullock’s statewide building priority list (it was #40 last time) and he is hearing a lot more positive buzz than he did at the last legislature. Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney also spoke positively about the role and importance of historic preservation in the state, and handed out the awards.
In accepting the Governor’s Outstanding Historic Preservation Stewardship Award, Lew Anderson, Bond Project Manager for Billings School District 2, was complimentary about CTA and our work. Keith Rupert and Lesley Gilmore represented CTA at the event.
Anderson also announced the school district’s recent completion of assembling utility cost information district-wide. Based on 1.5 years of data, McKinley and Broadwater Elementary Schools, for which CTA completed renovations in 2015, have the second and eighth lowest energy cost per square foot (respectively) of the 25 air conditioned schools in the district — astounding results considering about 50% of the floor area of each school is enclosed by the original uninsulated solid brick exterior walls. Additionally, the renovation projects cost less to build than the new schools being built in the district.
Gilmore, CTA’s historic preservation architect, was also recognized for her eight years of service on Montana’s Historic Preservation Review Board, as she retired due to term limits. She immensely enjoyed her time on the board and was an integral part in implementing the newly-enacted state agency heritage reporting process. CTA provided graphic design services for the Board’s reporting for the first three cycles. Gilmore has recently been appointed a member of the Montana Preservation Alliance board, the statewide preservation advocacy association soon celebrating its 30th anniversary.
These projects and awards demonstrate Montana’s strong advocacy for historic preservation, and that our school districts can provide high quality 21st century educations in significant historic structures.