By Fall of 2020, high school age students in Bozeman may not all be attending the same school for the first time in the town’s history. Starting this year, plans for a second high school will be taken on in earnest, and Bozeman School District officials hope to present a finalized plan to voters by November 2016.
In order to have a finalized plan by then, school officials will need to put plans in place that work with their budget and local Bozemanites’ hopes for the school. This school year will be focused on open dialogue and communication between the district and the public to put together a high school that will satisfy all parties.
The Bozeman School District plans on asking voters to approve a 60 to 80 million dollar project. The school has a soft deadline of 2020 to complete the school because that is when Bozeman High School’s enrollment is expected to eclipse 2,400 students. Bozeman’s overall enrollment has been increasing yearly and hit an all time new high in 2015. Once Bozeman High School reaches 2,400 students, school officials plan on splitting those students between 2 high schools, both with the capacity to hold up to 1,500 students.
Already topics of debate surrounding the highschool are forming. Will the new high school be very similar to the current one? Will it function just to increase space and carry the same curriculum as Bozeman High? Is there any interest in creating a new, more focused high school to offer students a chance to focus on a specific craft? Will the new high school include some form of cutting edge project, whether infrastructural or educational? All of these questions will need to be addressed in 2015. Any Bozeman resident who feels strongly on any topic should make a point to have their opinion known before year’s end. Already, ideas have been presented to the school to build a magnet high school of 400 to 500 students, while Bozeman High remained more traditional.
The two high schools will still need to decide logistical questions as well—like whether they will share a stadium moving forward, or whether one school might build an auditorium for both.
The school will hire a consultant to put together plans for a new high school rather than school officials based on the consultant’s expertise and ability to put all focus on this project.
It is very exciting to see plans for the new high school starting to develop. The High School’s recent growth really provides evidence for Bozeman’s continued growth. Bozeman School District schools have been some of the best in the state, if not the best, even with the recent growth. Bozeman continues to be very attractive to young families as evidenced by the district’s enrollment increases.