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Design Plans for Bozeman’s 2nd High School in the Works

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

We already know that Bozeman is quickly growing, and it comes as no surprise to anyone in the area that the high school is becoming overcrowded— just last year nearly 2,000 students were enrolled. With a capacity of 2,400 and a predicted enrollment of 2,700 by 2023, it only makes sense that plans for a 2nd high school are currently underway.

Back in February of 2016, several different scenarios for how to solve this problem were presented, a few of which included ideas for staying on Main Street by expanding the current building. However, it has been decided that the best course of action is to construct a 2nd high school, currently planned to be built on a 57-acre plot bordered by Durston & Cottonwood roads, Flanders Mill and West Oak Street.

What Else?

The latest cost estimate for this project is around $83 million, though it is expected to shrink since it is still in the design phase. The entire budget for the school is targeted at $94 million, with more than $10 million going toward equipment, fixtures and furniture. Some of these costs will also be used to renovate the existing high school to keep up with its rapid growth. CTA Architects Engineers, the firm working on developing the new school, will present its final design plan to the Bozeman School Board this December.

The design that was shown last week is modern and sleek, with some brickwork on the three-story classroom building to channel historic Main Street. Extensive black metal cladding, a wedge-shaped roof, all-glass entry and a two-story, stair-like tiered seating structure are all also currently included in the design plans, though these features are subject to change.

Current Design For 2nd High School

Source: CTA Architects Engineers

It’s Green, Too?

The school will also be constructed to environmental standards specifically tailored to schools instead of LEED building standards, which is the most widely used green building system in the world. Though using CHPS (Collaborative for High Performance Schools standard) will run about $10,000 less than LEED, the school chose these standards because it has many of the same features and is more geared toward K-12 schools.

The design report  that was approved by the school board earlier this month contains a CHPS checklist (pages 25 and 118), which demonstrates how the new school will aim to earn 125 environmental points. Many of these points will be earned for its energy efficiency, acoustics, water use regulation and heating system, in addition to sharing the building with other community groups after school.

Pros and Cons

Though we aren’t sure yet when construction will begin, the new school would create more opportunities for students to join sports teams and enroll in special classes like AP and foreign languages.  On the other hand, additional costs for building upkeep, hiring staff and another principal, and funding for double the number of sports teams is generating concerns from both parents and the School Board. Though there are still many details to be worked out over the coming years, one thing is for certain— Bozeman is still rapidly growing, and addressing the soon-to-be overcrowded high school now rather than down the road seems to be the best course of action.


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Belgrade Expands and Prepares For Future Growth

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Bozeman Ranks Second as the Fastest Growing Small Town in America

Belgrade Expands and Prepares for Future Growth

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

In 2010, Belgrade had around 7,389 residents; as of last year, that number has grown to 8,254— a 10.5% population increase in just six years, and probably even more now that we’re in the 3rd quarter of 2017. Many of these residents were priced out of the market when looking to purchase a home in Bozeman city limits.

In a report released by Prospera Business Network, the average price for a 2,400 square-foot home in Bozeman on an 8,000 square-foot lot was $367,241. In Belgrade, the average price for a single-family home is $291,382. At the beginning of the summer, the price was about $260,000.

What Preparations Are Being Made For This Growth?

Plans to improve downtown, alleviate the city’s transportation problems and buy more land to build additional schools are already underway.

The Belgrade City Council is creating a special tax district downtown, with its purpose being to produce a new revenue stream to finance this project (among other infrastructure upgrades), rather than asking residents to borrow the money. The council hopes that after improvements are made, new businesses will be attracted to the area. Here are the 5 areas downtown that need the most improvement:

  1. Poorly designed parking lots
  2. Unsafe conditions
  3. Deteriorating buildings
  4. Deteriorating infrastructure
  5. Defective street layouts

As far as starting to fix current traffic problems, the city of Belgrade is working with the Montana Department of Transportation. So far, a website has been developed to gather comments on road conditions from drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. All input will be taken into consideration when deciding where and how to begin solving this problem.

Belgrade High School set an enrollment record this year with 917 students, and the population for the whole school district this year is 3,406— 5% more than last year. The school district is now looking to purchase anywhere from 12 to 200 acres to build two possible new schools, while still having plenty of space for sports practices and games.

Most phases of these plans are expected to take between 6 and 7 years until completion. With Belgrade expanding so quickly, it only makes sense that the city council is already preparing not only for future growth, but the current population and its present needs.


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Bozeman Continues To Grow With New Proposed Airport Expansion

Record-breaking Research At MSU In 2017

New Short-Term Rental Rules Adopted In Bozeman City Limits

A Skeptic Outlook for $125 Million Proposal for Two Bozeman High Schools

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Bozeman’s $125 million plan for a second high school and improvements to the existing one is awaiting voter approval in the upcoming May 2nd election, and the outlook doesn’t look so good.

Voters normally approve Bozeman School District’s development plans, and by big margins. In the last seven school construction bond proposals, ($36 million for Bozeman High School, $16 million for Sacajawea Middle School, $5.5 million for Hawthorne Elementary, $17.5 million and $26.3 million to build Hyalite Elementary and Meadowlark Elementary, and two bonds of $14.1 million and $5.75 to build the new Chief Joseph Middle School) each were approved by margins as high as 62 to 70 percent.

It seems, however, that voters are changing pace. In the last November election, voters of Gallatin County rejected the $71.5 million proposal for a new courts and law enforcement facility. The proposal lost by 3 percent (47% approved by city and county voters).

Even more discouraging to the School Board is the results from a recent poll conducted by the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. While it was an unscientific online poll, it revealed that out of 1,500 responses, 54 percent disapproved of the project (811 disapproved, 591 approved, and 99 were undecided).

Why the Opposition?

In a recent meeting with a room full of retirees, attendees expressed their concern that the project would spend unnecessary tax dollars. One gentleman criticized the plan for not saving money by sharing sports facilities with Montana State University. $2.5 million of the proposed plan would go toward upgrading Bozeman High’s current stadium, and more would go toward a large gym for the new high school.  

Countering the skepticism, Rob Watson, the school superintendent, explained that the School Board already cut the original estimate down from $144 million, and added that MSU couldn’t guarantee that the high schools could use its facilities.

What Will This Project Cost Taxpayers?

The cost to taxpayers for the $125 million plan would be about a 9 percent increase in property tax over a 20-year period for homeowners in the Bozeman elementary school district. As the city grows with more businesses and homes, however, the cost should decrease as more property owners share the expense.

The School Board Says Bozeman Needs This Project

The School Board urges voters to approve this project, explaining that the current high school is reaching its 2,400-student capacity and is deteriorating. Trustee Wendy Tage says that the glass-walled lobby in front of the cafeteria “could fall over in an earthquake.” And the amount of repair and maintenance that is needed for Bozeman High School would be like, as Parent Matt Kraska says, “polishing a turd.”

If this bond doesn’t get passed, the School Board would have no choice to go back to the drawing board and modify its plan for the next election in November. Watson says that if they must, they could either plan a smaller design for the new high school or make fewer improvements the current one, but something needs to be done nonetheless.

 

Below is where the new Bozeman high school would be located, on the corner of West Oak and Cottonwood Road.

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School Board Approves $125 Million Plan for 2 Great Bozeman High Schools

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

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.

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MSU Student Design "Small Shelters" For The Homeless



Source:

Panel OKs $125 million plan for 2 Bozeman high schools

Bozeman Montana Will Have Second High School

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Make some room Bozeman High School—it looks like you will have some company soon in Bozeman, Montana. The phrase now feels much more real, thanks to a 6-1 vote by the Bozeman School Board to build an entirely new, 9 -12 high school in Bozeman Montana. Bozeman has been one of the fastest growing small towns in Western United States.

Bozeman High School currently has 2,000 students but has been expanding year over year. By 2020, the date a new high school should be opened, that enrollment will reach 2,400, hence the split.

The Bozeman School Board, as well as its high school expansion advisory committee, worked hard in the past six months to determine the best method of expanding its educational services to a growing city.

The Bozeman School District had grappled with several ideas, including a Freshman only school, expanding the current high school, or even changing which age children would attend what school. However, after much deliberation, the board went ahead with the most expensive, but also most forward thinking proposal (in terms of potential future costs): an entirely new high school, a distinct entity from Bozeman High School with its own teachers, athletics, mascot etc.

The high school will be built on Bozeman’s west side of town, on Oak and Flander’s Mill Road. It will be just North of Meadowlark Elementary school.

The recommendations for the new Bozeman high school were researched and made by the 31-member advisory committee which consisted of parents, teachers and community members. The committee had to tackle concerns that expansion might bring. The variety and number of classes offered may be thinned due to the costs of new faculty, administration and operating costs.

Bozeman High School’s reputation has been nothing short of stellar of late. Its students always perform extremely high on standardized tests, they take a wide variety of AP classes, the school has received education based grants, and the overall happiness of Bozeman high schoolers is very high in comparison to other places in Montana and in the US. Many are concerned a second school could potentially dilute the excellence and momentum Bozeman High School has built.

Despite concerns of the price and drawbacks of a second high school, the advisory committee reported that letters for and against a new high school were nearly 2-1, giving them the confidence that they have made the best decision for the community. Voters will still need to pass the bond that funds the school. That very important vote will take place in May, 2017.

 

 

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/education/milestone-vote-supports-bozeman-s-second-high-school/article_a436820e-7804-58d6-bb04-8619b632e863.html

Belgrade Montana to Expand High School

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Belgrade, Montana voters passed a 25-million dollar bond to expand Belgrade High School. The bond passed with a  59 to 41 percent margin. The money will be used to remodel and expand Belgrade High School. Belgrade, like Bozeman, has seen a major population increase in the past decade and will need to continue passing bonds like this one to keep up with the rapidly expanding region.

Some parts of Belgrade High School were built in the 1960’s. School officials will focus on remodeling the culinary kitchen, updating science labs, art rooms, tech centers and increasing classroom spaces throughout the school. Belgrade will also add a new gym with the funds.

Belgrade schools do not believe a second high school (an expansion Bozeman has been seriously considering) will be needed for at least 15 more years with the current expansion plans. Belgrade expansion plans should be done by Fall of 2019.

Voters also approved a $101,374 tax increase for the annual costs of running Belgrade High School.

 

 

Sources: http://www.abcfoxmontana.com/story/31894894/bozeman-looks-to-add-high-school-belgrade-looks-to-expand

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/education/voters-ok-school-levies-belgrade-high-million-expansion/article_8aac5c6f-f6a4-51b1-8709-7410b6f5ec77.html

Bozeman Schools Look Into Additional High School Expansion Plan

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

The Bozeman School District has delayed a vote to narrow Bozeman High’s expansion plan in light of a new hybrid plan raised in late March. Officials had been wrestling between two high school expansion plans, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. The third plan, if accepted, would try to lower the drawbacks seen in previous plans.

Bozeman had been debating two expansion plans. In the first idea, Bozeman would build a new, fully separated high school. The new school would operate as a separate entity from BHS. This expansion plan would follow the model set by towns in Montana who already have two to three high schools (i.e. Missoula, Helena, Billings etc.). A new highschool would cost the most money to build but would lead to less renovations and expansions in the future. Funding the two high schools would become the biggest drawback going forward, as both schools would then be expected to field separate athletic teams, music groups and clubs. Operating costs for new administration, librarians, custodians etc. would cost $1.5 million alone. Many residents worry that optional classes like Advanced Placement Coursework, art and foreign languages would be narrowed if funding became an issue.  

In the second idea, the school district would build a new building for Freshman only. The building would house up to 800 students and would be designed to be expanded later down the line. This plan would keep all students under the Bozeman High School umbrella. Although more classes could be offered in comparison to idea one, idea two will make athletics and music highly competitive and therefore would be offered based on merit, instead of being an open activity.

In late March, officials came up with a third idea to try and negotiate between the drawbacks of the first two plans. In this hybrid idea, Bozeman would move forward building a new high school. However, the district would shuffle which grades attended which schools, to help make numbers even between Elementary, Middle and High School. Currently, Bozeman High is a 4 year school, housing 2,000 students. The new school, capable of holding 2,200 students, would only take  10th, 11th and 12th graders, leaving plenty of room to grow into the building.

Eighth and ninth graders would then attend Junior High School in the current building. Chief Joseph and Sacajawea would take 5th through 7th graders (currently taking 6th through 8th) while elementary schools would take Kindergarten through 4th graders (currently Kindergarten through 5th grade.) By redistributing the students, both high schools would be left with plenty of room to expand.

In light of the new idea, as well as the impending bond vote on the new Law and Justice Center in Bozeman in November, officials will not put the bond before voters until May 2017. Which plan they put in front of voters will in be determined in May.

 

 

Source: http://www.kbzk.com/story/31594431/new-idea-on-the-table-for-bozeman-high-expansion

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/education/decision-delayed-to-check-out-new-plan-for-bozeman-high/article_46b8b65e-6c13-5b91-93bb-41bf8e33d332.html

Bozeman High School Narrows School Expansion Plans to Two

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Bozeman School officials have narrowed Bozeman High School’s inevitable expansion down to two solutions. Officials also eliminated any possibility of expanding the current high school any further.

One option remaining calls for building a separate campus for Freshmen, still under the Bozeman High School umbrella. That campus would accommodate 800 students.

The second option calls for building a second high school right away. This school would be a separate entity from Bozeman High School.

The third option, now no longer being pursued, called to expand the current high school again—this time to 3,000 students.

High school enrollment in Bozeman is projected to reach 2,400 students by 2020. The pros and cons of building a freshmen campus over a full high school focus on money available compared to expected growth in Bozeman. Creating a separated Freshmen campus would be cheaper on the front end, but could potentially limit future expansions. Creating a full high school would cost more but allow for more flexibility in the future. Creating a separate high school would also require initial growing pains as districts would need to be redrawn, class availability could be affected and athletics would require new organization.

In light of narrowing down their choices, Bozeman school officials have also moved to delay the multi-million dollar bond proposal for the new school. Initially to be brought up in November 2016, officials have moved the vote to May 2017 to avoid competing against the other multi-million dollar proposal –a new Bozeman/Gallatin County Law and Justice Center. The Bozeman community already approved expansions of Sacajawea Middle School and Hawthorne Elementary in 2015.

Although the vote might be delayed, the school district continues to gather funds to address Bozeman growth. The board approved a $550,000 property tax increase for 2016 for dealing with growth and building repairs. The plan will increase taxes by 9.9 million over six years. The 10% raise will hire 11 more teachers to address Bozeman’s 3.2% increase in enrollment. The money will also go towards repairs of school buildings.

 

 

Source: http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/Bozeman-s-high-school-expansion-plans-narrowed/38554020

http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/Bozeman-s-high-school-expansion-plans-narrowed/38554020

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/education/bozeman-school-board-to-vote-on-tax-levies/article_4124e0e1-7ac8-55bb-aff0-d8863f20c76b.html

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/education/bozeman-high-bond-may-wait-until/article_d7994ac1-ea72-5b5a-8db7-e6c1c7cf4a5c.html

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/education/bozeman-high-full-already-expecting-more-students/article_5cc06f8f-06f2-57cb-aa04-e79d02b1b7ee.html

Bridger Alternative Program Now Montana’s First Charter School

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

In late February, the Bozeman School Board agreed unanimously to turn Bridger Alternative into Montana’s first Charter School. The school had originally been founded as an alternative program within Bozeman High School to help at risk teens graduate from high school.

Bridger Alternative’s program utilizes a competency model to determine how and when a student graduates. In traditional public schools like Bozeman High School, students complete a minimum number of days to graduate and also need passing grades. Bridger alternative students can earn credits by showing clear mastery of a skill, such as math, physics, English etc, allowing students to move quicker or slower through material when necessary.

Now that the school has grown to 80 students and has six full time faculty, the school board has gone ahead with designating Bridger Alternative as a Charter School. Although no immediate changes will be seen with the designation, eventually the school will be able to offer more performance based courses now that they aren’t tied to a public school and its rules. Currently, students at Bridger Alternative split time between the program traditional classes at Bozeman High. One day, with Charter designation and the ability to offer additional classes, students might be able to take every class at Bridger Alternative.

 

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/education/bozeman-votes-to-create-state-s-first-charter-school/article_7ba1f0ae-6d1c-506d-b1cc-2dfb2fe55153.html

 

Bozeman High School Earns Highest ACT Scores in State

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

For the second year in a row, Bozeman High School has the best ACT scores in the state. Current Bozeman seniors averaged a 22.8 composite score when they took the test last year as high school juniors.

Montana averaged a score of 20.4 and the US average sat at 21. In 2014, Bozeman averaged a total score of 22.5, so test scores continue to improve.

Bozeman High surpassed the averages of all other State AA school districts including Helena, (21.5), Missoula (21.2), Great Falls (20.5), Kalispell (20.3), Billings (20.2) and Butte (20.2).

In general, only students who expect to go to college would take the ACT test. However, after receiving a 6-year grant, Bozeman High has issued the test to all its students. This year, 47% of all Bozeman juniors hit ACT benchmarks. Considering Montana averaged 24% and the US averaged 28 percent, the record reflected well on the high school and its quality of education.

Below are the scores by subject:

English – 75% hit benchmarks, 57% average in Montana, 64% in US

Reading – 60% hit benchmarks, 44% average in Montana, 46% in US

Math – 59% hit benchmarks, 41% average in Montana, 38% in US

Science – 52% hit benchmarks, 36% in Montana, 38% in US

When Bozeman students continue to perform well, it will continue to attract new families to the Bozeman area who hope to offer their children the best education available.

 

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/education/bozeman-high-students-ace-act-tests/article_0ae353e8-2705-5242-90bd-9c492567df11.html

 

 

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