Bozeman School District looks to purchase land for future high school


BOZEMAN, Mont. - Bozeman High School could reach capacity within a few years, but before a new high school can be built voters will need to choose a spot to put it. They have that chance in Tuesday's school election.

The proposed site is 37 acres and located off Flanders Mill Road in northwest Bozeman. It is just north of existing Meadowlark Elementary School.

If voters approve the purchase, the school will spend $1.1 million dollars of existing money to buy the land.

The city has been making plans for a future high school for nearly 10 years.

Bozeman Schools Superintendent Rob Watson says northwest Bozeman is seeing growth and rapidly developing roads and sewers.

He says, "Makes it an attractable site for land for a future school."

This isn't the first time the school district has looked at a site for a potential school. In 2006, the district bought a plot of land on the southwest side of town, but after watching the city grow more to the north, officials began to look elsewhere.

Watson explained, "What we've seen over the last 6 to 8 years is the growth in that area of town just hasn't occurred like we thought it would."

Watson says the district isn't getting rid of the already purchased land. The old site will continue to be monitored for growth and infrastructure.

Watson told us that land could be used, "Perhaps for an elementary school or a middle school, or if that side of town grows even faster than we predict it could be a potential high school site."

NBC Montana took the issue of a new high school to the current students of Bozeman High.

Student Nicholas Manship said, "I don't think right now it's necessary for a new school, but I definitely think it will be in the future."

Students also talked about the site proposed in tomorrow's election.

Bozeman High Student Emma Gannon told us, "Well if they were going to build a high school I think that's probably an ideal please because Bozeman seems to be expanding out that way."

Watson tells us no plans for actually building a new school will be made until Bozeman High reaches capacity -- 2,400 students. A number that, right now, appears to be 5 or 6 years away.

Watson says, "Really we're just kind of waiting and seeing, watching that enrollment."

Watson tells us another reason why the site is favorable is a potential for working with the city to make use of the recently approved sports complex that will be built adjacent to the potential high school site.