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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.

 

 

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

Cheaper For Sale/For Rent Properties To Improve Affordability in Bozeman

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Over the past few months, the City of Bozeman and local builders alike have worked hard to continue making homes more affordable in Bozeman.

For Rent

Bozeman has partnered with developers GMD Development from Seattle and Homeward out of Missoula. Together, they are building a 136 unit for rent, affordable apartment complex. Bozeman helped fund $200,000 for the project using the workforce housing levy.

The complex will be made for residents who earn 60% or less of Bozeman’s median income. Rents will range from $560 to $940 a month. The units will be subject to a rental control clause that will keep rents at the same or very near to the rates seen today. The clause will be in effect for 46 years.

According to Bozeman’s local HRDC, rental or mortgage costs should only take up 30 to 40 percent of a person’s income. In Bozeman, most residents pay around 50% of their income to rent or mortgage payments.

For Sale

Four new properties have been approved on Cottonwood Road for sale to lower income residents. The new homes will be approximately 840 square feet and cost about $200,000.

Bozeman passed new home affordability ordinances in November 2015 to incentivize builders in Bozeman to construct more affordable homes. The city has required that 14 affordable homes are built by September 2016, that 27 are built by July 2017 and that 54 are built by December 2017. If not, the city will enforce mandatory inclusionary zoning ordinances to make homes more affordable.

This project would contribute 4 new homes to that number. The city would prefer to continue offering incentives and relaxed codes to build affordable homes, rather than force another rule on the building industry. Normally, the city requires homes be built on lots of at least 5,000 square feet. Under this program, builders can lower lot sizes to 4,500 square feet. Bozeman also expedites affordable homes through the building permit process, saving developers who make affordable homes time and money.

The median price for a single family home in the Gallatin County was $330,000 in 2015.  If a person wanted to only have 30% of their income go to their mortgage payment, they would need to make around $70,000 a year.

 

Sources: http://www.kbzk.com/story/30861473/affordable-housing-options-in-bozeman-to-expand-with-new-development

http://www.abcfoxmontana.com/story/30858148/bozeman-set-for-136-new-affordable-housing-units

http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/Construction-begins-on-affordable-homes-in-Bozeman/37972184

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/city/first-houses-approved-under-new-bozeman-affordabilty-plan/article_6070f54e-b9fe-5c76-8c50-ddcbc58fab81.html

Bozeman Looks to Expand Cottonwood, Durston Intersection

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

In early February, the Bozeman City Commission focused their efforts towards road expansion and reconstruction on the west side of town. With Bozeman's growth rate in the top ten nationally, road expansions and construction will continue to be needed. The city wants to expand the intersection of Cottonwood and Durston Road to better address the growth in the area. Bozeman has and will continue to find additional funding for city streets so long as growth continues.

Ideally, the commission would like to expand Cottonwood to four lanes and widen Durston to three lanes. The plan would also add a new light on the intersection of Cottonwood and Babcock. The commission would install roundabouts at Oak and Baxter, and Flanders Mill and Ferguson.

Bozeman’s growth, particularly on the west side, have increased traffic in the area. With the fastest growing economy in Montana, Bozeman continues to stay on the national radar. Its been awarded as one of the nation’s most liveable towns, a top worldwide destination and a top college town in the past 2 years. School districts continue to break enrollment records, Expanding neighborhoods like Laurel Glen and Valley West have attracted more residents to the west side of Bozeman, putting more strain on the nearby roads. More commercial permits have also been given on the west side of Bozeman, increasing traffic as well.

Durston and Cottonwood improvements would cost an estimated 30 million dollars and would be broken into several projects over the coming years.

 

Source: http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/Bozeman-seeks-expansion-of-Cottonwood-Durston/37762862

 

Bozeman Honored as Top 16 Worldwide Destination

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Los Angeles journalists might finally be catching up to the rest of us Bozemanites who have already made Bozeman home. In a recent article, the LA Times shared their top 16 destinations to visit in the world in 2016. Bozeman, MT made the list, which included other exotic locations such as Botswana; Paris, France; Iran; Dublin, Ireland; Cartagena, Columbia and Washington DC among others. The list did not order from 1 to 16, so Bozeman’s honor put it on equal footing with these other spectacular locations.

The article highlighted Bozeman as the tourist gateway to Yellowstone National Park. In 2014, 3,936,162 people who visited Montana, travelled to Bozeman as well. In 2015, that number grew to 4.4 million plus visitors. Tourist spending broke 4 billion in 2014.

The LA Times looked at Bozeman’s growing hospitality industry as an example of the positive momentum for the town in general. For example, the Lark Hotel on Main Street, after only its first year of business, has already moved forward with plans to expand their hotel. The hotel already had 90% occupancy rates, showing how many people now want to visit the Bozeman area. Forty-six percent of people who drove through Bozeman with no intentions of stopping, stayed in the town for at least one night in 2014. In 2015, that number rose to 48 percent.

The LA Times article also highlighted the local restaurants in the area and of course, Yellowstone National Park, as major draws for the small Montana town we call home. Local officials credited Bozeman’s tourism growth to the expanding airport, which has made travel to Yellowstone and beyond much easier for out of state visitors.

As Bozeman continues to grab more national attention, it can be expected that more people will visit Bozeman. More than a few are more than likely to catch “the Bozeman bug” so to speak and look to make Bozeman a more permanent destination. So long as that continues, Bozeman real estate can look forward to continued growth and recovery as the market expands.

 

Source: http://www.latimes.com/travel/la-tr-d-16-places-20151227-story.html

http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/Bozeman-makes-list-for-top-2016-destinations/37167738

http://www.kpax.com/story/30846496/paris-spain-ireland-and-bozeman-city-joins-list-of-must-see-destinations

http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/Bozeman-hotel-expands-after-successful-year/37343366

Bozeman Has Fastest Growing Economy in Montana

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

According to some recent analysis, Bozeman has the fastest growing economy in Montana. Bozeman has seen increases in wages, its construction and manufacturing industries, available jobs and student population in recent years.

Wages have increased in Bozeman by 5 percent, compared to Montana’s 2 percent.

Construction has been on the rise and building is once again booming in the area. Before the recession, Bozeman issued around 500 permits per year on average. That figure dropped to approximately 200 in 2008, but this year 467 permits were issued. Construction also added 367 jobs between 2013 and 2014. It would be expected that those figures increased in 2015 as well.

Manufacturing also saw job growth, coming in second to the construction sector and adding 199 jobs in 2014.

Bozeman’s technology industry, of course, has had the biggest effect on Bozeman’s landscape and future outlook. Since the sale of RightNow Technologies in 2011 to Oracle, the economy has seen a significant lift. Oracle just recently announced that it will be expanding once again and will be adding even more jobs to the Bozeman area. That article has been included in this newsletter and can also be read here.

Other major companies have also looked to expand in their local locations. Simm’s, a fishing products dealer, announced this year that they will expand their production facility in the area, adding 160 additional employees.

Gallatin County is also the number 1 county in economic investment in the state of Montana. Montana State University continues to provide opportunities to its students for start up companies and other similar ventures. MSU has set records for enrollment, partly based on the fact that so many students on the tech side of the University have had so much recent success.

Bozeman continues its positive momentum. Its economy continues to grow, the housing sector appears to have recovered, and many different industries in the area have thrived in recent years.

 

Source: http://billingsgazette.com/business/bozeman-s-economy-is-montana-s-strongest-fastest-growing/article_ad0d2383-77e4-59f1-924a-794c8856c27a.html

 

Oracle Building New Operations Center - Google, Facebook Next?

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Oracle Corporation has agreed to a 10-year lease on a new 20,000 square foot building that is currently under construction. Likely, the expansion will also provide additional jobs to Bozeman’s booming technology industry. In total, Oracle will now have 120,000 square feet of offices in Bozeman.

Oracle plans on using the new building as a global operation center which would control Oracle’s network of other data centers. The building will also be used as a “showcase building” for local visitors and high level executives.

Oracle continues to expand its presence in Bozeman, offering additional jobs and an economic boost to the local community. Bozeman continues to invest in itself while local and national businesses continue to invest in Bozeman. In 2015, Bozeman had the fastest growing economy in the state of Montana.

In early December, news also came via the Bozeman Daily Chronicle that both Google and Facebook have also met with local officials to determine whether they might be interested in opening data centers in Bozeman as well. Having major corporations expand or build new data centers in Bozeman will only attract an even higher tech presence to the area.

 

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/economy/new-oracle-operations-center-to-bring-bozeman-more-tech-jobs/article_1875caa6-2d00-560b-98ac-e6d55c0a5069.html

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/economy/officials-clearing-way-for-google-or-facebook-to-build-data/article_6a3c5b03-20b8-594c-a392-401ebd42ba48.html

 

New Fenced Dog Park Near Bozeman Pond Open

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

If anyone had still questions whether Bozeman is a dog friendly town, that topic can be put to rest as Bozeman has added yet another dog park to its repertoire. The new 2 acre dog park opened next to the Bozeman Pond and will eventually be incorporated into Bozeman’s plans to expand the Bozeman Pond Park. Many homes in the nearby area have small to no backyards. This park will make it more convenient for dog owners to take their pets on a walk and get them some exercise.

Bozeman has added multiple dog parks, including a 20+ acre off leash park and other smaller parks similar to this new project. Snowfill Dog Park also expanded its trail system this year.

The new park is open but will still be adding a shaded pavilion and a small dog/puppy area. The new park came from land purchased by the City of Bozeman from the Gallatin Valley Land Trust (read more about land trusts here. The city used money from the 2012 trails, open spaces and parks bond. The Bozeman Pond Park recently received additional funding for its expansion as well.  

 

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/city/run-dog-run-opens-dog-park-near-bozeman-pond/article_3566ca27-f940-5703-a519-d2fb006a0266.html

 

Bozeman's New "Midtown" Gets Started

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

Bozeman has gone forward with plans to input a new urban renewal district on the North 7th area to beautify and densify the district.

The area, now rebranded as Midtown or Midtown Bozeman, has struggled with its lack of connection to the other parts of Bozeman and it’s urban, box-store feel. The area grew during the 60’s and 70’s, and has a basis in automobile transportation. For this reason, most of North Seventh has strip-mall style commercial businesses.

In the proposed plan, the district would try to foster developments that attract both commercial and residential patrons, ideally in mixed-use buildings. Bozeman wants to create the district so it also can become a center of activity, adding new conference and event venues. Bozeman has already worked on upgrading the fiber-optic cables in Bozeman and this new project would add cable to the Midtown Bozeman area.

Commissioners will use a TIF (a tax increment finance district) to help beautify the area and make aesthetic improvements. By using a TIF, Bozemanites will not see their taxes increase unless they are within the district. Bozeman used TIF funds in 2015 to fund the expansion of one of its downtown elementary schools, Hawthorne.

A similar urban renewal plan was put in place for Bozeman’s downtown in 1995, a change that has been considered a huge success since its implementation.

 

Source: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/city/bozeman-commission-gives-north-th-renewal-plan-the-go-ahead/article_8b462c22-ae6a-5b99-90b2-f0c9a748c161.html

http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/city/north-seventh-renewal-plan-on-bozeman-agenda/article_55be43fb-fa22-5c17-bb4c-83c3b0abe93d.html

Building on Bozeman Main Street Renovated and Open for Business

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

An older building on the corner of Grand and Main Street in Bozeman finished their renovations in late October and is once again open for business. The building, known as the Dutton Building, sits near the entrance into Bozeman and will help add more visual appeal to Bozeman’s downtown.

The building had housed several restaurants over the past few years. After a few of them went out of business, the owners took the opportunity to tear down and renovate 2/3 of the building while adding a second floor.

The City Beautification Advisory Board bestowed and award on the building for its appearance and fit into Bozeman’s downtown atmosphere while the Downtown Bozeman Partnership said the building helps create a new visual entrance into town.

Renovation on the building was all privately funded. Businesses inside say renovations have helped drive additional, different customers to them. The owners are looking for additional businesses for their second floor.

 

Source: http://www.nbcmontana.com/news/Redesigned-downtown-Bozeman-building-revitalizes-street-corner/36084654

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