Bozeman Montana Real Estate Information Archive


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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.




Element Hotel Takes on Growing Bozeman Tourism

by Tim Hart

With tourism spending in Montana close to $4 billion, with 662 million of those dollars being spent in the Gallatin County, its no wonder Bozeman has looked to take advantage of growing tourism in the area. After reports that hotels had their weekends booked through summer before the end of May, it makes sense that new hotels might try to grab some of the growing tourism market. This coming week, Bozeman will welcome a new hotel to its downtown—the Element hotel.

The Element will be 5 stories and have 104 rooms. It will be located on East Mendenhall, just a block from the vibrant downtown Bozeman district.

The hotel is part of a branch called the Starwood Resort Chain and will be the first LEED certified sustainable hotel in the state. Its sustainability, part of where the Element name came from, is the hotel’s claim to fame. It has been built with salvaged wood ceilings, recycled carpet and flooring made from reused tires. Starwood Resorts want to have all of their hotels reduce their water usage by 20% and carbon emissions by 30% by 2020. For this reason, single use toiletries and bottled waters will be replaced with more sustainable alternatives.

The hotel will employ 50 people, will have dog-friendly rooms and will also have free bikes to rent for its patrons. The hotel joins the Lark Motel and the Etha Hotel as recent hotel projects near downtown. The Etha is still under construction.

Yellowstone is on pace to break visitor records this year while the local skiing continues to garner a larger reputation and following. All the industries that focus on tourism, including the airport, have seen increased traffic. So long as more and more people continue to want to visit and experience Bozeman and Montana’s beauty, the city should expect to see tourist based businesses continue to grow in the area.





Average Single Family Home Requires 22 Subcontractors

by Tim Hart

When faced with putting down 200k plus for a new single family home, some buyers may wonder if their builder is walking away with huge profits. Although the builder may very well be making a good profit on the home, many buyers forget the organization and costs required to subcontract out the work needed to build the best home possible—tasks best done by experts in a specific industry. Buyers want to know that their home has been wired, plumbed and floored with the best of them, but having that guarantee does come with a higher price tag.

Builder’s use of subcontractors is clearly as strong as ever. Now, according to the National Association of Home Builders, builders hire (on average) 22 subcontractors to build a new, single family home. Not only that, 70 percent of homebuilders use at least 11 and sometimes use up to 30 subcontractors on a given home.

16% use 0 to 10 subcontractors

36% use 11 – 20 subcontractors

34% use 21 to 30 contractors

9% use 31 to 40 subcontractors

4% use 41 to 50 subcontractors

2% use 51+ subcontractors

Even if a builder does not subcontract a job on a specific home, he may subcontract that task on the next one. Two thirds of builders said they generally subcontract 75% of the construction costs in a build.

So for homebuyers, remember that homes, like many human inventions, have a lot more subtlety and work put into them than what first appears to the untrained eye. Although home costs appear high, sometimes those profits are split among a wide group of people. It is up to the builder to determine how those profits are split and how much help he needs to build a quality home, while remaining competitive in the housing market.





Amidst a growing Gallatin Valley, Bozeman Deaconess Hospital will be expanding from its Bozeman location to better serve the greater area. The hospital has plans to expand to new campuses in Belgrade and Big Sky, while also adding to its Bozeman location. In addition to real estate based expansions, the hospital will also be expanding and improving its rural response to heart based medical issues thanks to a recent grant from the American Heart Association.

The hospital has 3 expansion projects currently across the Gallatin Valley.

Bozeman Deaconess moved forward with their plans to better address the growing West end of Bozeman and a fast growing Belgrade by adding a new location in Belgrade. The new location has broken ground and is expected to be completed by the Summer of 2016. The hospital is planning on building a two story, 37,000 sq. ft building on 9.4 acres on the southeast corner of Jackrabbit and Alaska Frontage Road. The new location will provide space for 20 medical providers and will include family medicine, urgent care and clinical and physical therapy groups.

The Bozeman hospital also has plans to build a 4 bed, 51,000 square foot hospital in Big Sky by the end of the year. Earlier this year, the hospital also announced that it will be adding a 5 story medical office building to its main Bozeman location. That project should be ready by spring of 2016. These expansions will only help the hospital better serve all the patients living in the greater Bozeman area, both suburban and rural.

The hospital also announced this month that they have been awarded a $109,700 grant from the American Heart Association to continue improving the outcomes of heart attack patients in rural Montana. The grant aims at improving care and response times for patients outside of bigger Montana towns. The money will help implement a system-wide data tool to measure and improve procedures, provide medical experts with additional training and education, improve coordination between rural emergency services and rapid transport, while also supporting a public education campaign on heart attacks.

As the hospital services continue to expand, they continue to help make the greater Bozeman area a safe place where all residents can be provided quick, high quality care. Minimizing potential risks and shortening travel distances that come with an outdoor or rural lifestyle makes Bozeman all the more attractive as a lifelong destination.




United States Foreclosure Numbers Keep Dropping

by Tim Hart

The total foreclosed on homes has dropped to its lowest level since December 2007 according to CoreLogic’s May 2015 National Foreclosure Report. The report states that the number of foreclosures nationwide dropped to 41,000 in May. Today’s foreclosure totals are now 65% lower than the number of completed foreclosures in 2010.

The report continues a similar trend reported early in the year, when foreclosures fell by 27% in February and completed foreclosures fell by 15% year over year. 

Mortgages also have seen big drops in delinquent payments. Mortgages in serious delinquency—or mortgages that are 90 days or more overdue—dropped by 23% in May based on year-over-year totals. Currently, 1.3 million mortgages are delinquent. Sounds big—but that 3.5% rate is the lowest seen since January of 2008.

Having both lower foreclosure totals and less delinquent payments reflect positively on the current housing market and overall United States economic outlook. As more people have found consistent jobs and as housing prices have recovered and provided equity to many homeowners, foreclosures and delinquent mortgages have gone down. Having less people defaulting on their loans will create a more balanced, deeper, less volatile housing market—something buyers and sellers alike can benefit from.




I read a great article by Troy Carter of the Bozeman Chronicle, detailing the effects of the exempt well ruling on Gallatin County growth. In mid-October of last year, a county judge ruled that subdivisions pumping over 10 acre feet of water per year would need to apply for a water rights permit. Before the ruling, subdivisions could pump up to 1,000 acre-feet of water without a permit, while farmers and ranchers using the same amount needed a permit.

The article details how the well ruling has affected development in Gallatin County since its inception. Many people have been worried it will affect growth in the area. So far, it has been difficult to tell whether the ruling will affect subdivision growth moving forward.

According to the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Water Resources Division, nearly 100 subdivisions have applied for approval since the ruling. If a subdivision stays under 10 acre-feet of water per year, then no further action is needed to drill. According to the DRNC, a vast majority of subdivisions have stayed under this threshold. From this perspective, it appears the ruling has done little to curb growth.

However, other evidence suggests that changes may be coming. This year through June, 53 wells were reported whereas last year there were 57 and 70 in 2013. In addition, some well experts are worried that the ruling will raise land values. Because subdivisions have to use less water per home, they would put less homes on a parcel of land. Whereas ten homes may have shared the water before, now only a few may be able to. Not only would there be less home inventory on the market, homebuyers may have to buy larger segments of land as well—both of which would raise prices, potentially slowing development.

The ruling may also just affect how people live in Montana but not the overall growth. The ruling could potentially lead to more urbanization as developers move towards hooking up to city water, rather than having to jump through the hoops of attaining water rights.

Currently there are 18,000+ wells in the Gallatin Valley with 12,500 of them labeled as domestic wells.

Moving forward, it will be very interesting to see how this ruling affects subdivision development and overall growth in Bozeman, the Gallatin Valley and Montana overall.




New Bozeman School Addresses Learning Disablilities

by Tim Hart

A new school will be coming to the greater Bozeman area, hoping to fill a niche in Bozeman by teaching young children with learning disabilities. Cottonwood Day School, as it will be called when it opens in September 2015, will help young children address their issues with speech, dyslexia, dysgraphia (for writing) and dyscalculia (for math). The school will be open for children in 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade.

The school will use multi-sensory education techniques to provide many different types of learning styles to its students. Ideally, it will provide avenues for visual learners, auditory learners and hands on learners to learn in they best way they know. Cottonwood Day School wants to be another option in the Bozeman education world, giving parents alternatives for their struggling student. The school hopes it can provide early intervention and give struggling students a leg up and a chance to get back into public school and be successful.

The school is located on Cottonwood Road, just south of Anderson School. Tuition will cost $9,200 a year.

Education opportunities and alternatives continue to be at extremely high quality in Bozeman, Montana. Enrollments have increased in public schools, while private schools have been expanding in size and increasing in number. Bozeman has become a center for high level public and private education in the state, perhaps why so many people continue to be attracted to and move to Bozeman.



Bozeman Growth and City Streets

by Tim Hart

Bozeman has been growing and the local city streets may need some time to catch up. Bozeman’s population now sits at 39,860 people, up from 31,545 in 2003. Since 1996, Bozeman has added 12,000 new residents who now call the Gallatin Valley home. As Bozeman’s population has grown, the number of cars using its roads has also increased. Recently, the City of Bozeman has turned its focus towards fixing and maintaining streets in light of its recent growth.

Since 1996, Bozeman’s planning department has issued 9,300 completed building permits. Nearly two-thirds of these permits were residential and commercial construction. When a developer breaks ground for a new subdivision, the city often requests they address their impact on the rest of Bozeman’s infrastructure through impact fees. Currently, the city has about $10 million pooled from impact fees, but taxes and other assessments will be needed to fully maintain Bozeman’s streets.

So far, it is believed that $2 Million dollars extra will be needed yearly to stay up with chip sealing and repaving. According to Public Works Director Craig Woolard, every dollar spent in preventative maintenance is equal to $6 to $10 in costs that would be needed to repair a deteriorated road. Raising taxes would help bring in the needed money to avoid deterring projects until it is too late for minor work.

The City Commissioners are considering a 12.2% increase to the existing street maintenance fees. For the average city resident, this would increase taxes by $37.86 a year. That number represents 1/5 of the total tax hike, showing Bozeman’s increased focus on city streets. Bozeman may also create a new assessment on arterial streets that could bring in $575,000+ dollars in additional revenue.

As Bozeman has grown, it has gone through both pains and gains. Keeping ahead on street maintenance will help keep Bozeman a beautiful, convenient place to call home. Taking care of the bumps and bruises while they are small will keep them from becoming something more pervasive in the future. Taking care of small pains, will help the city make big gains as it continues to grow.




Gallatin Health Department Performs High Nationally

by Tim Hart

The Public Health Accreditation Board highlighted the Gallatin City-County Health Department as one of the highest performing health departments in the United States. The department serves the greater Bozeman and Gallatin Valley area and it was only one of 75 departments to receive the accreditation.

The Gallatin City-County Health department stood out for providing accessibility to medical services for its residents and for coordinating between departments and services. The department also ran seminars for local health providers, working to boost awareness for any social services available to the public and to non-profits.

Having a high-level Health Department helps make all medical services in Bozeman and the Gallatin County better, faster and more reliable. An accreditation such as this one come from many years of consistent, good work from the Health Department. Recently, both Bozeman and Livingston (Park County) have made major additions to their medical facilities. Coupled with the Gallatin County being honored by the University of Wisconsin as the healthiest county in the state, the Gallatin County is shaping up to be a very healthy home.



Pet Friendly Bozeman Adds New 20+ Acre Dog Park

by Tim Hart

The Gallatin County and Run Dog Run, a local non-profit, will be creating a new off-leash dog park that organizers are calling the best dog park in Montana. The new park will be in Gallatin Regional Park and will be 23 acres in total. The first phase, which is on track to be completed by September 2015, will be 13 acres in size.

According to those working on the project, the new park will be a thick slice of doggy heaven. The park will include ponds, docks for diving and playing fetch, berms, shaded areas and hills. The whole park will be fully fenced, allowing dog owners to take their dogs off leash without worry about nearby traffic etc.

With dog-related improvements throughout Bozeman over the past year, the city and county have really made a true effort to turn Bozeman into doggy paradise. Run Dog Run has helped start 4 off leash dog parks in Bozeman, including the recent 2-acre off-leash park at Rocky Creek Farm. The Gallatin Valley Land Trust also worked on improving and expanding Snowfill, the off-leash dog park north of town.

With the west side of Bozeman still experiencing rapid growth, all Bozeman dog owners as well as dog owners looking to move to Bozeman will be relieved and pleased to hear that the city has provided multiple places across town for dog owners to exercise their pets. Having a pet, for many, is a staple within any household. Having a town and neighborhood that are dog friendly can do a lot for a homebuyer choosing one city or neighborhood over another. For buyers and sellers alike, having solid park infrastructure with pet friendly areas can be a major asset when it comes time to list a property for sale.




Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 23