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Bozeman Montana School Expansion Bond Passes

by Hart Real Estate Solutions

The Bozeman School district received great news from the Bozeman community on November 3rd, when voters passed 21.5 million dollars worth of bonds to expand both the Hawthorne Elementary School and Sacajawea Middle School.

Now, district officials can turn their sites towards a second high school in Bozeman.

As Bozeman grows, the community will need to continue funding the schools to help them address the rising student population and keep Bozeman the wonderful community that has attracted so many new residents.




For the second year in a row, the Bozeman School District has grown to its largest size in its history. Last year, enrollment hit 6,294 people but this year, enrollment has grown by more than 200 students and has now reached more than 6,500 students. In spring, administrators had estimated a 170 student addition.

Now, a record 2,000 students will attend Bozeman High School. 1,470 middle schoolers are now between Chief Joseph and Sacajawea Middle School. And nearly 3,045 elementary students will be spread across Bozeman’s Elementary schools.

In light of the growing enrollment, Bozeman will ask voters to approve bonds to expand Sacajawea Middle School and expanding Hawthorne Elementary School. That vote will occur November 3rd, 2015.

The Bozeman School District has also started planning for a second high school in Bozeman. They want a new school in place within the next four to five years, when enrollment at Bozeman High, currently the best ranked public school in Montana, is expected to reach 2,400 students. The district is already in discussions with a few architecture firms to get the project rolling.

Bozeman has seen increases in population all across the board. Whether for travel, tourism, schools or overall population, its clear Bozeman continues to attract additional residents.




Bozeman Montana Schools Look to Expand

by Tim Hart

On November 3rd, voters will decide whether to expand the Sacajawea Middle School and Hawthorne Elementary School. School officials believe that with Bozeman’s growth over the past years, now is the time to expand these schools to better address the growing Bozeman population.

School officials will put a proposal to expand the Sacajawea Middle School before voters, costing 16 million dollars. They had considered building a new school, but the costs could have been nearly double.

The middle school has struggled with space issues. The school uses one gym for 700 students, its orchestra and band rooms are a little small and additional classrooms are needed as well. With the 16 million dollar bond, the school would build a new 8th grade wing, add classrooms to the 6th and 7th grade wings, add half a gym w/ additional health enhancement classrooms and add additional locker space.

The bond would cost a homeowner with a $240,000 property an additional $34.57 a year.

Bozeman officials will also put a proposal before voters to expand Hawthorne Elementary School. Hawthorn currently has two portable classrooms and a portable music room that would be replaced with a new, two-story wing.

The project is expected to cost 5.5 million, but school officials will use a Tax Increment Finance District to cover the debt—so ideally this project will not cost tax payers additional money. It would have cost a tax payer with a $240,000 property approximately $13.65 a year.

The School District has already moved ahead with selecting architects for the project. They want to get the ball rolling so they can be ready if the proposal passes. They are in negotiations with A&E Architects for the Sacajawea Middle School expansion (they helped build the new Chief Joseph Middle School) and Comma-Q Architecture for the work on Hawthorne.

Bozeman Schools have also started looking into the construction of a second high school, which is farther down the pipeline, but will be a needed project in the future





Bozeman Looks to Expand and Upgrade Elementary School

by Tim Hart

The Bozeman School District continues to work hard improving an already wonderful school system. Officials will put a proposed expansion for Hawthorne Elementary School on the November ballot, asking for 5.5 million to improve the school. Even more interesting, the district believes they can gather the needed funds without raising property taxes on Bozeman residents.

Current plans include replacing old classrooms and improving the cafeteria in Hawthorne Elementary, all while creating more space for the school overall. The portable classrooms that were installed in the 1980’s will be removed and replaced with a new two-story addition. The cafeteria will also move from the basement to the first floor and be fully updated. Finally, some playground space that was used for portable classrooms will now be opened up once those are removed.

In order to get the needed funding for these improvements, school officials plan on using tax-increment financing, or a TIF, to raise funds without increasing property taxes. The downtown TIF was originally used to help create the parking garage near Main Street, but the extra reserves were reverted back to school funding. Money cannot be used outside of the district it taxes, so Hawthorne became the natural choice for these funds. Normally, school funding needs to come from the voter approval of some form of bond, which would raise taxes—this scenario will avoid the tax increase.

Bozeman continues to have some of the best public schools around. Their high school was recently honored as the best in the state. Keeping up to date with improvements will keep it so and keep Bozeman as attractive as it is to new potential residents.




Bozeman High School Ranked Best in Montana

by Tim Hart

Bozeman High School was rated the best high school in Montana according to US News and World Report Magazine. In their 2015 ranking of the best American High Schools, Bozeman came out on top for the state and performed well nationwide.

US News and World Report Magazine ranked the high schools based on student performance on state tests, minority student and low-income student performance, as well as how well the school prepares its students for college.

Bozeman performed admirably at the national level, earning a silver distinction for high schools. The magazine looked at 29,000 high schools across the United States and gave 500 gold medals, 2,207 silver medals and 3,990 bronze medals. Even if Bozeman were at the bottom rung of the silver medal winners, it would still rank in the top 8.7% of high schools surveyed. Red Lodge High, Hellgate High, Frenchtown High, Hamilton High and Park High were also given silver distinctions.

At Bozeman High, 43% of the 1,890 students passed their AP tests. At the start of last year, BHS was honored for having the highest AP test scores in the state. On state tests, 68% of students were proficient in math and 92% were proficient in reading. Bozeman currently has 10% minority students and 20% low-income students.

Bozeman High has worked hard at continuing to improve on an already excellent school. This past year, Bozeman established a program with Montana State and George Mason to study current models for teaching mathematics and looking at how they can be improved to increase performance. In addition, the high school was awarded a grant to implement and improve programs to help students deal with mental stress and health issues.

Its no wonder people continue to be attracted to Bozeman Public Schools. Even as enrollment has increased, the high school has done a great job in keeping its quality and performance up to its already high standards.



Montana State University Building Parking Garage

by Tim Hart

Montana State University continues to ride the positive momentum from a growing student enrollment. With recent approval of a new College of Engineering Building at the heart of campus, parking might now be an issue for the growing school. Now, MSU has turned its sights towards a new parking garage to help address the needs of both the students and the public.

MSU had considered several other options to address parking on campus, but ultimately the parking garage dealt best with the issue while offering possible growth in the future.

As MSU has grown, its reputation and quality education have stayed in stride, if not improved at an even faster rate. This past year, MSU attracted its smartest group of incoming freshmen in 25 years. Assuming MSU continues on this track, there is no reason not to expect the school to continue growing.

The parking garage will help address the school’s needs and will be built across from Grant Street and the Strand Union Building—right between the student fitness area and the current parking lots. The new Engineering building will be eating up nearly 400 parking spaces, but the garage will open up around 550 to 600 spaces. Construction will start Fall 2015.

Bozeman’s growth will always be somewhat tied to MSU’s success. So long as MSU continues attracting smart young students, then businesses, parents, teachers and professionals will continue to take part in Bozeman’s economic and housing market growth.




Bozeman School District Enrollment Increases

by Tim Hart

The Bozeman School District will be adding 170 more students next year, highlighting Bozeman and the surrounding area’s continued growth. Last year, Bozeman schools had their highest enrollment ever and it looks like the record won’t make it through the calendar year.

In addition to the 170 new students, administrators will hire 11 more teachers to better educate the additional students. In order to make those hires, the 2015 legislature will need to pass the public schools bill in April. Luckily, the bill dealing with inflation costs has already passed.

Elementary and middle schools will increase by 167 students next year. That is a 3.8% increase from the 2014 to 2015 school year when 4,321 students were enrolled in elementary and middle schools. The high school only added 3 new students. From a real estate perspective, the enrollment totals suggests that Bozeman is still very much a family town—and new families looking to move here, tend to make that move early. With the nearby schools, public lands and outdoor activities, its easy to see why Bozeman would be a big draw for young families looking to live in Bozeman for an extended time.

As enrollment increases, Bozemanites may have concerns that the quality of the education may be diluted. However, this year suggests otherwise. Bozeman High School was honored for its students high Advanced Placement Exam scores and ACT scores. The high school was also awarded two grants for studies in mental health and mathematics. Longfellow, one of the local elementary schools, won a department of education honor as a Blue Ribbon School.

The Bozeman School District still remains the gold standard for schools in the area. It is no wonder that more and more families move to Bozeman to educate their children in such a positive learning environment.





Bozeman Improves Safety with Recent Projects

by Tim Hart

Two recent projects taking place in Bozeman have highlighted the city’s recent efforts to better address the health and safety of its residents.

The Bozeman Police Foundation has spent nearly $6,000 to improve safety around Bozeman. One of the projects added flashing beacons to several crosswalks around Sacajawea Middle School and Whittier Elementary School. The new beacons should help drivers see and react to children crossing the street better than ever before.

Crossing guards have always helped children cross the road during times of high traffic, like in the mornings and after school. However, during off hours and  the times in between classes, those crosswalks do not have guards on patrol. Now, with flashing lights, the kids can cross the street safer and cars will be well aware when someone tries to cross the street.

Bozeman has been updating signage in town for the last year or so to better address the needs of its people.

In other news, the Bozeman Deaconess Hospital has seen its 15 million dollar expansion move faster than expected, due to favorable weather. The hospital will be putting in a new 5 story, 80,000 sq. ft building to help the hospital keep up with a growing Gallatin Valley population. The new building will be for offices, but it will help the hospital run smoother while better addressing the health and safety of Bozeman people.

Livingston has also taken on the construction of a new hospital, really showcasing the population growth of Southwest Montana.





Potential Expansions Coming for Sacajawea Middle School

by Tim Hart


Sacajawea Middle School may see some expansions in 2016, thanks to a rising enrollment in Bozeman Public Schools. The middle school has 40 classrooms that can hold up to 750 students. If eventually approved, the middle school will join Petra Academy (private) on the list of upcoming school expansions in Bozeman, showing the continued growth of the area.

As of now, enrollment has not hit 750 students, but many of the other rooms are currently used for other purposes than a traditional classroom. Physical Education classes have taken a few of these open classrooms with aerobic equipment, weights and other resources. After looking at demand and enrollment in Bozeman Elementary schools, many officials believe the school will not be able to keep up within the next few years.

School officials have looked into hiring an architect to evaluate the feasibility of a middle school expansion. After the evaluation, the school would need to design and approve construction bonds for a fall vote in 2016 to local Bozeman residents.

The expansion project is still in very preliminary stages and ultimately may not go through. As Bozeman has grown, so have the schools. Staying ahead of the curve on space issues in Bozeman will help maintain the high quality and reputation these schools have earned.



Bozeman Deaconess Hospital has started a 15 million dollar addition that will better address the needs of Bozeman residents while also preparing the next generation of doctors for the area.

The hospital broke ground two weeks ago and it plans on the building being 5 stories high and 88,508 square feet. The basic shell of the building should be ready by December of 2015 and then its interior should finish within the following six months. The hospital may not have to fit the entire bill assuming MSU can approve the leasing of a portion of the building for its growing medical programs.

Montana State University is awaiting approval to lease space in the new addition for its growing WWAMI doctor-training program. Currently, they are awaiting approval from the Board of Regents to make sure they have adequate funds to lease the space.

MSU’s WWAMI program gives prospective medical students a chance to live and breath the medical world from a variety of perspectives. In their first year, MSU students would study at the school, they would attend the University of Washington in their second year, and then go to clinical training sites for their 3rd and 4th years. MSU hopes that Bozeman Deaconess can become one of these clinical training sites in the future. The University of Washington has given their approval for Bozeman Deaconess to become a clinical training site.

Leasing space from Bozeman Deaconess will help better involve practicing doctors in the training of medical students. 1 out of 7 doctors can thank the WWAMI program for allowing them to practice in the state of Montana and surely would be willing to pay the help forward to future doctors. MSU would lease the 12,000 square feet of space for $16 a foot, or $192,000 a year.

MSU continues to build its academic reputation in a variety of different subjects while growing its student population. MSU's effect on Bozeman real estate shouldn't be underestimated. Renters and investors continue to see the effects of MSU. As the medical school in MSU grows, so will MSU’s reputation. MSU will hope to continue to attract the nation’s best and brightest with their continued academic focus. Having more doctors coming to Bozeman can only be good news and should continue to attract out of towners looking to move, while calming their concerns for medical care in a rural area like Montana.



Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 17