Helena High School is open for business

The Helena High School entryway is ready for students as the ribbon was cut on the new school facility in front of hundreds of students, parents and residents during an Aug. 3 ceremony. (Reporter Photo / Jon Goering)

The Helena High School entryway is ready for students as the ribbon was cut on the new school facility in front of hundreds of students, parents and residents during an Aug. 3 ceremony. (Reporter Photo / Jon Goering)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

HELENA—Excitement was in the air as officials from the Shelby County School System, Helena High School and the city of Helena cut the ribbon to the new high school building in front of hundreds of parents, students and future students on Aug. 3.

“It’s really exciting for this community,” Shelby County Schools Superintendent Randy Fuller said. “Students are going to school in the community in which they live… it will offer a quality education for our students here (and bring) a community together.”

Completing the new 220,000-square-foot facility is a big step for the Helena community, Helena High School Principal Jay People said. The addition of the high school creates a “closed feeder system,” with students entering Helena Elementary School and continuing at Helena schools through senior year.

“The neat thing about this community is the closed feeder program,” Peoples said. “It has almost a city system feel.”

Helena Mayor Mark Hall echoed Peoples’ sentiment, expressing pride in the new academic facility.

“We’ve been waiting a long time on this. Today is the answer to a lot of prayers and dreams come true,” Hall said. “This was the missing piece of the puzzle to us… in a community that is already recognized as one of the best places to live.”

The completion of the building is the result of hard work and cooperation from many groups, including the Shelby County School System and the city of Helena, Fuller and Peoples agreed.

“It’s the culmination of a massive joint effort,” Peoples said. “It’s really neat to have seen such a coordinated effort to make a building like this possible.”

Peoples also commented on the “unparalleled job” of Katy Thomas of Lathan Associates Architects.

“She was the lead, if not sole, interior designer for this building,” Peoples said, highlighting Thomas’ work to incorporate Helena’s history into the building with “miner’s lantern”-inspired fixtures in the school’s entry way.

Schools officials are not the only ones excited about the Helena High School facility, students look forward to start the year in the new school as well.

“I think it’s gorgeous, the media center is my favorite part,” sophomore Allison Dees said. “I’m really excited for the school year, I think everybody is.”