At a special meeting of the Missoula County Public Schools on Tuesday evening, two important steps were taken toward the building of a new Cold Springs Elementary school.

Superintendent Mark Thane said the first decision was to officially canvass the election results in which voters approved the acquisition of land to build the new school.

"Thanks to help from Elections Supervisor Rebecca Connors, the vote to acquire the property for Cold Springs is considered to be official," Thane said. "Secondly, the board gave authorization for me on behalf of the district to sign a buy-sell agreement on the property. There are a number of contingencies attached to that buy-sell agreement. We are carving an eight acre parcel out of a larger piece of property, so we have to go through subdivision review and get that lot adjustment approved."

Thane said the district is hoping to have the reviews fast-tracked by local government officials.

"Once those contingencies have been met, we'll set up an official date for the closing and officially acquire the property," he said. "In the interim, we're beginning the engineering and architectural work associated with the building of the new Cold Springs Elementary School. After completing the planning process, we hope to break ground in the summer. and we would target completion for August of 2018, so in about 18 to 20 months, we could be moving into the new school."

The present Cold Springs Elementary School is a group of buildings on Briggs Street, cobbled together from mobile units trucked in years ago from Colstrip.