Bozeman is another step closer from making its dream for a second high school a reality. The School Board just reached a unanimous decision on Tuesday to approve $125 million to build a second high school, and make major improvements to the existing one. Now we anxiously wait until the May 2 election for the voters’ final decision to make it happen.
The current high school, the largest in Montana, is reaching capacity with 2,118 students. By 2020, the number of students is expected to reach 2,400. School officials are anxious to have the second high school open by then.
The new high school would be built on the intersection of Cottonwood Road and West Oak Street. Improvements would also be made to Bozeman High to make it more functional and energy efficient. Both high schools will be designed to hold about 1,500 students, with an equal number of classes, electives, sports teams and clubs at each school.
The committee decided that each high school should have an auditorium with 750 seats, and a drama room. The current football stadium would be shared by both schools, but upgraded with $2.5 million for artificial turf, track lanes, and bleachers on a building that would eventually house two team locker rooms, bathrooms, and a concession stand.
The new high school would have a main gym large enough for an impressive 2,500 seats, with two smaller auxiliary gyms. There was a proposal made for an even larger 3,500-seat gym where state tournaments could be held, but the committee decided to down-size to save money. If enough funding is granted, they may end up pursuing the larger gym, as well as an artificial turf practice field at the new high school.
Bozeman High School would demolish the old classroom wings B, C, D, E, and the old library to replace them with a new two-story classroom building. An auditorium and a new 10,000-square-foot student commons area on the west entrance would also be built. With enough funding, another parking lot may also be made for Bozeman High.
The original estimated cost for everything including the larger gym, practice field, and parking lot totaled to $144 million. The School Board wished to limit costs, so adjustments were made to the proposal to bring the cost down to $125 million. A meeting will be held by School Board trustees on February 16th, at 6 p.m., at Willson School to decide how much funding will be proposed on the election ballot.
There are two more chances for trustees and residents to state their opinion about the plan, and how much funding should be proposed. The School Board is holding a special meeting this Friday (2/10) at noon, and a public meeting next Monday (2/13) at 5:45 p.m.
Panel OKs $125 million plan for 2 Bozeman high schools