UPDATE - Monday, February 10, 1:00 p.m.

Missoula School District One announced on Monday afternoon that Rattlesnake School would reopen to students on Tuesday morning.

The school was closed on Monday due to problems with the heating system, however, MCPS Superintendent Alex Apostle said that the heating system will be repaired this week.

"The good news is that they're going to be able to reproduce the important part of the heating system and we're having it flown in," Apostle said. "The latest information I have is that we can have the heating system up and running as early as Wednesday or Thursday."

Meanwhile, large industrial heaters and temporary venting are delivering heat to the school. Space heaters have been added in key areas around the school and some classes will be moved into the school gymnasium , and in shared classrooms till the end of the week.

Apostle said the staff voted unanimously to reopen the school for Tuesday classes.

"I met with the staff early this morning and again this afternoon, and they voted unanimously to open school up for the children tomorrow," Apostle said. "I told them that they would be making the decision as to whether we close school and wait until the repair was completed, or to conduct school tomorrow, and they voted to open tomorrow, so I'm very pleased with our teachers and our entire staff."

MCPS officials are advising parents that  the indoor temperatures vary in different sections of the school, so students should dress in layers in order to be comfortable throughout the day.

Apostle heaped praise on the staff, teachers and local agencies who teamed up to help during the boiler malfunction.

"The staff, the custodians, everyone, including the Fire Marshall, the Fire Inspector, Dayspring Restoration and Sentinel Mechanical for their partnership to make sure the school gets back up and running to serve the students," Apostle said.

MCPS Superintendent Alex Apostle


Rattlesnake Elementary School will be closed on Monday, February 10, due to continuing problems with the school's heating system.

Regional Director for Missoula School District One Heather Davis Schmidt said on Sunday afternoon, that the problems with the school's boiler system began on Friday.

"We worked all day Saturday to resolve the heating issue, and after installing a replacement part, we thought the problem had been solved," Davis Schmidt said. "However, we had addition problems late Saturday, and met on Sunday morning with a mechanical engineer to help diagnose the problem."

"Students will not be reporting to school on Monday, however, staff and teachers will report in as normal, so that we can work together to determine the next steps," said Rattlesnake Elementary Principal Jerry Seidensticker.

Davis Schmidt said the City Fire Marshall has also been contacted to determine what alternative heating methods could be safely employed. She said parents and staff have already been contacted about the temporary closure.

"We have a Connect-Five system, and we've already contact all staff and school families," Davis Schmidt said. "We did that yesterday evening and again this morning, and we will do so again this evening. We communicate via voice mail, as well as email messages."

Davis Schmidt said there is no time line as yet as to how long the school will be closed to students.

"We just don't know at this point," Davis Schmidt said. "That's why we have to depend on the people that have the expertise. They will be in place tomorrow to really help us take a deeper look at the problem and give us a time line."

Executive Regional Director of Missoula School District One Heather Davis Schmidt