NewsMontana News


Inside look at Three Forks Schools expansion and renovation, nearing completion

Screen Shot 2023-03-03 at 11.25.45 AM.png
Posted at 1:12 PM, Mar 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-03 15:12:08-05

THREE FORKS — The renovations and construction of Three Forks Schools, which has kindergarten through 12th grade all under one roof, began over one year ago. It's now nearing completion.

Wyatt Murdoch has been teaching middle school and high school social studies in Three Forks for two years.

“I’m definitely excited to be put in a new classroom and be settled in,” said Murdoch.

Two weeks ago, his classroom looked a little different than the one he is in now.

“Visualize a trailer and that was my classroom the first half of the year,” said Murdoch.

He says his old classroom wasn’t the most convenient.

“But now, the kids since they’re actually in the building, they can go to the bathroom quickly, go to their lockers quickly, and for me, it’s just nice having my own permanent space,” said Murdoch.

According to superintendent Rhonda Uthlaut, the 25-million-dollar project didn’t just include new classrooms.

“There’s been so much going on,” said Uthlaut.

A new gym, kitchen, cafeteria space, office space, and…

“Our boiler system, it was so hit or miss,” said Uthault. “We were keeping that system running on a prayer to get through the winter, so we have a new heating system.”

Uthlaut says not only did Three Forks need to expand their school to accommodate the town's growth, but they also needed to take care of safety and security issues.

The new security system does a background check on visitors when they sign in.

“We’ve made a lot of progress here at Three Forks from being open door all the time, and we welcome our visitors, but we want to be safe,” said Uthlaut.

Even though Three Forks has made tons of progress with its renovations, Uthlaut says there have been plenty of challenges due to supply chain shortages.

“We’re still waiting on some of our electrical equipment,” said Uthlaut. “We’re having some people put their heads together, problem solve and keep the progress moving.”

Despite the setbacks caused by supply chain shortages, Uthlaut said they’re still on track to be done by the end of May.

“The best part is the kids, I can see that they’re really proud of what we have here,” said Uthlaut.

Like Ruby Warden, a senior who has been going to school in Three Forks schools since 8th grade.

“We’ve had the same tiny school for years and it’s exciting to see it grow,” said Warden. “We have so many new kids coming in.”