Bozeman looks to add high school, Belgrade looks to expand - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Bozeman looks to add high school, Belgrade looks to expand

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BOZEMAN -

School leaders in both Belgrade and Bozeman are forced into change to keep up with the increasing student populations. Voters just approved a $25 million-dollar bond to expand Belgrade High School.

Additionally, in Bozeman an advisory committee voted to split Bozeman high into two separate high schools. The decision still has to be approved by the school board, but committee members say this was really the best option when planning for the future growth.

For so many schools in the Gallatin Valley enrollment numbers are on the rise exponentially. While Bozeman High is currently home to 2,000 hawks, the deputy superintendent for the district says that number is expected to go up by 700 students in the next six years. That's why committee members ruled out the possibility of an expanding Bozeman High, and looked at an entirely new project.

"Under the recommendation there are really two projects. There's one, which was building a new comprehensive high school and the other one which is renovations to our existing high school," said Steve Johnson, Deputy Superintendent of Bozeman Public Schools.    

However, a new high school is not without drawbacks. To fund two different schools the district will likely cut funding for some elective and advanced placement classes.

"Will there be some classes cut? Absolutely. There's likely to be classes we won't be able to offer anymore, but I think they're still going to get a great education and they'll have a lot of great options and opportunities," said Johnson.    

Bozeman isn't the only district with growing pains. Principals at Belgrade High School are thanking voters for approving a bond to build new class rooms, remodel art and technology classes and add a new gym.    

Principals say this expansion should help for the next 15 years of growth.

"We always want to make sure that when we do one expansion that we set it up for the next expansion because Belgrade has been a growing school district for the lasts 30 years, and we will continue to be a growing school district in the years to come," said Paul Lamb, Principal of Belgrade High.    

Belgrade High's principal says it will be two to three decades before he expects growth will demand an entirely new high school.  Belgrade high should be done with construction by fall 2019.

If the new high school in Bozeman is approved by the school board and a bond to fund the project is approved by voters, construction on that project should wrap up around 2020.

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