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Bozeman Public Schools proposes possible site for new high school

By KTVM Staff
Published On: Mar 03 2014 06:29:45 PM MST
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Bozeman Public Schools has proposed a buy/sell agreement for a possible future site for a new high school.

This comes 9 years after a plot of land was purchased to be a placeholder for a second Bozeman high school.

That first site sits is on the corner of Stucky and Cottonwood roads South of Huffine Lane. The new proposed site is located off of Flander's Mill Road, just North of existing Meadowlark Elementary School.

NBC-Montana spoke to Deputy Superintendent of Operations for Bozeman Public Schools Steve Johnson about the growth Bozeman is seeing.

He tells us, "There's a lot of housing development going on in that area, so we feel it would be a very good location."

Johnson is talking about West Bozeman, and the possible location for a second Bozeman high school.

About 1,960 students are currently enrolled at Bozeman High School, and Johnson tells me the school board is planning to split the school when that number reaches 2,400.

"Our projection is that it'll hit 2,400 in about 2019 to 2020.", he says.

And although Johnson tells me he isn't concerned with the population of the current high school, telling us, "I think bozeman high works really well."

Some students we spoke to disagree, citing crowded class sizes.

Bozeman High student Aunica McCullough tells NBC-Montana that, "Its definitely a really big school, its hard to be at, and you don't get to really know anybody."

Many like the idea of building a new facility.

"I think a new high school would benefit Bozeman really well.", says William Cannon, another student at Bozeman High School.

Johnson does agree that Bozeman students will see benefits from a second school.

"At the same time," he says, " I think a smaller environment gives students better opportunities."

Johnson tells us the school board has been planning a new school for some time, and wants to make sure the location is ideally situated for existing student population and area growth.

Residents we spoke to living near the possible site shared concerns about increased traffic and proximity to an existing elementary school. But others thought it would be a good fit.

One resident, Jeff Webb, said, "I think they'll all be compatible, just because there's growth. This is a good spot for schools."

Deputy Superintendent Johnson  says the proposal is still in its infancy, with a lot of community discussion to follow.

He explained, "We're trying to get the school board in a position where they can make prudent decisions."

The Bozeman High School District School Board will meet tonight to determine the appropriateness of the location and the use of district resources.

If the board approves the proposal, they will turn to school district voters to get their opinion, which could happen in the May school election this year. Voters will see the site issue appear on the May 6th ballot.

The land would cost approximately $1.1 million and would be paid for with existing school district funds.

If the issue passes in may, both the new and existing sites will be monitored for area growth before a final decision on where to build the school is made.