Great Falls Public Schools Deforestation Plan For Great Falls High School

GFPS Superintendent Tammy Lacey and her band of merry fools are at it again. The photo shows the dead corpses of more than twenty 70 to 80 year old trees at the historic Great Falls High School Campus. According to Lacey, 73 mature trees, 50 more, will be cut down for fire wood. That should warm the cockles of your hearts, right?

Check out the YouTube video from KTVH Helena here.

At 2:00 PM, Friday June 15th, the Good Wood Guys will be cutting them up in their shop, or you might say, performing an autopsy. The public is invited to witness the carnage.

“A major share of the destroyed trees are City boulevard trees, which means they belong to us and not the school district. Without City review, approval, or a permit, the District has boldly gone where no fool has gone before in the destruction of public property.”

A major share of the destroyed trees are City boulevard trees, which means they belong to us and not the school district. Without City review, approval, or a permit, the District has boldly gone where no fool has gone before in the destruction of public property. At the time of this writing, Assistant Community Development Director and Senior City Planner Tom Micuda said the City has issued a stop order, but it’s too late for the beautiful trees that make GFH a revered icon in our community.

The School District should be charged with felony destruction of property and forced to pay $20,000 per tree, $400,000, along with the cost to replant every tree they have destroyed. Of course, if that happened it would be our money used to pay the fine.

We might also like to ask:

Is the District’s slash and burn ideology a reaction to the recent operational levy failure? Is it, “you voted down our levy so we’re going to cut down your trees?” Is it time for the Superintendent to step down, and maybe the Board of Trustees too?

“Is the District’s slash and burn ideology a reaction to the recent operational levy failure? Is it, “you voted down our levy so we’re going to cut down your trees?” Is it time for the Superintendent to step down, and maybe the Board of Trustees too?”

GFHS students, alumni, those who value history and old trees, and indeed all citizens should be outraged at the school districts bull-in-a-china-shop approach to bulldozing through the historic and beautiful campus.

We urge our readers to call Tammy Lacey 406-268-6001, or email her at and let her know that this is unacceptable.

Please vote in our poll:

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Philip M. Faccenda
Philip M. Faccenda
Philip M. Faccenda is an AIA award-winning architect and planner. He is the Editor-in-Chief of E-City Beat.


      • Philip, read this. It is written with out the condescending labels and snarky remarks. I did go to the meetings, I heard and saw what the plans were. This was not a secret. The city was well aware of the plans. It was also well publicized and everyone was invited to these meetings via public notice along with personal notices. They were invited to ask questions about the plans. I however, did not read the ecitybeat until recently so do not know if these notices were provided to it.

        • Sharyn, You don’t have a clue. I have been involved with the GFH planning process since 2009 and I know what propaganda has been presented by the District, and what facts have not. It has been very apparent that the District doesn’t know what they are doing.

      • MB, what vendetta? E-City Beat is News and Opinion and we make no apologies for it. If you just want News, perhaps you should just read the Electric and not post their stories on our blog.

  1. Why’d they do that? We’re they hurting something? Doesn’t make sense. Seventy-three ash trees is a lot of wood. The city charges a hundred bucks a cord for ash, and this is nicer would. I would like some of this wood. How much did good guys pay for it? Or was it a gift from the district? If so, that’s crap. Why not a biddinging process? I’m pissed. This is very valuable firewood. The best around these parts.

  2. They’re building a central campus to connect the 2 buildings, the trees had to be removed. Also, they’re doing this construction using levy money from 2016.

    • Those photos show the trees on the boulevard cut down, doubt if they’re linking one building to another there. that might be city property, but what the hell do I know.

    • Katie S, With a more creative architectural design, not one tree would have had to be destroyed. Suffice it to say, not all architects are created equal.

    • Really? Why are they building a central campus when they have buildings that need fixing for safety? Do you think the city would have issued a stop order if this was okay? This is stupid on all fronts. The District DOES NOT HAVE MONEY TO JOIN ANY BUILDINGS.

  3. We can tell so far, who was bought and paid for to support an action you or I would not get away with. Can you acid wash ash?

  4. People of Mediocre Falls were too apathetic to go to the meetings over the last few years where the destruction was discussed. This is why they know nothing about what is going on. Too late now, you get to live with it.

    This is all on those of you whom voted for the 98 MILLION DOLLAR bond measure.

  5. So they are short on money and cut trees down for firewood to sell, or where does the school system use this firewood? Did they use school money to cut down the trees? Were the trees in the way of updating the school? Glad I don’t have kid’s in school because I’d be crawling up someone’s firewood! Oh, D must not be from around here and hides behind a NON-NAME, so he can comment.

  6. There was an article about repurposing the trees that were cut down and using them for something. Please investigate before you make snarky comments about them cutting down trees. The trees are being cut down for a reason it’s not like some moron just went up there with a chainsaw and decided to hack it a bunch of trees.

    • Teresa, You’re right, it wasn’t just some moron with a chainsaw that decided to hack a bunch of trees, it was a bunch of morons at the school district who directed someone with a chainsaw to hack a bunch of majestic and healthy trees. I think snarky comments are entirely justified in this case. If you know a good reason to destroy 116 trees that you don’t own, I’d love to hear it.

  7. Ever notice when a liberal (or member of a society or organization) is shown evidence to support an action, they immediately turn the story around and make it about something totally different? Or they, for lack of any reasonable response, try to justify the action with a reason only they know about or believe? So far, by the numbers, we can see those who belong to that group.

  8. This was a poorly written article, not professional and shouldn’t have been written until you could produce facts. This just causes more division with the snarky way it was written. I’m disappointed with the

    • The pictures alone speak for themselves. That’s a fact. I just hope no one misses the oxygen that the leaves generated. Would that make this a public endangerment?

    • Sharyn, The article is factual and professionally written. The District was wrong to destroy the trees and to even think about destroying more of them. The trees do not belong to the District. If you have “facts”, let’s have them. There is no possible defense for the District’s inept actions.

    • The District cares even less about birds than they do about trees, grass, climate control, history and the Law.

  9. Can’t beleave it. Graduated GFHS way back when. Showed people pictures of the school and the comment was always the same, “Your collede right?” Answer always the same, “Nope, high school.” Response always the same, “HOLY COW!”
    Now just another big bare building with a big bare parking lot

    • Garry, You have to ask if people who would destroy those trees, and want to destroy 116 total trees at the GFH campus are clinically insane.

  10. For All readers: This is a response to Jeff Patterson’s comment on Facebook that he thinks the District’s Landscape Plan is peachy dandy.
    E-City Beat Jeff, We check the District’s site everyday. We checked it during the HPAC meeting on Wed June 13. The Landscape Plan was not there. The trees were cut down on June 11 and 12. I checked with Tom, the District’s IT Director and he said that the Landscape Plans were posted June 13 at 12:34PM. So the trees were cut down before the public could have possibly known what the Plan was. I don’t think you could, even “with layman’s eyes”, think there is anything good about cutting down 73 trees. Wow, maybe this is why the District has gotten away with this kind of thing for a long time. Those days are over.

  11. From The Electric regarding GFPS not following GF development standards: “Landscaping for a convenience store is a lot different than a school,” Lacey said. “We’ll do landscaping that makes sense. We value landscaping and want it to look nice.”

    After my wife, a teacher, read this, she immediately quipped, “shouldn’t landscaping for a school be more important than landscaping for a convenience store?”. She then went to the GFPS website to see the new plans and was upset that the new plan for GFHS is a building in the middle of a parking lot with much of the external existing lawn and trees repurposed to a parking lot.

    Educators and students of GF are going to for years be paying the price for the hamhanded mismanagement of the bond projects. Hard to convince voters to give you additional operational money when you demonstrate you can’t be trusted with infrastructure money. Good teachers have the most cost effective positive effect on educational outcomes yet we are pissing away money on superintendent/board ego projects that look like solutions in search of a problem.

    • RJ, “We’ll do landscaping that makes sense”? Does that mean she’s the authority on landscaping?Sounds like the one who doesn’t make any sense is Lacey.

  12. RJ, First, a little history. The brain bank of District administrators, none of whom had ever been involved with a single building project, let alone $98M of projects. So they hire a Billings construction company without any licensed architects, or professional engineers to ramrod the process. Then, for GFH, they hire a Bozeman architectural firm with an out-of-state partnering firm from Seattle. That means about $3M in fees paid by local taxpayers will benefit economies other than our own. It appears they tell the out-of-towners what they want and they award the general construction contract without competitive bidding on a cost-plus basis, which is illegal for State contracts for obvious reasons. Next, before the architectural work is finished they fast-tract the process and begin by cutting down the first of 73 mature trees at GFH without a permit from the City. What’s next? My guess is it won’t be pretty.

  13. I don’t care what their reason for doing this was; it just made me sick to see all those beautiful trees chopped down. Tammy Lacey is the most overpaid administrator ever. She and the rest should all feel ashamed of themselves.


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