Plans for Bozeman’s second high school have reached a milestone with unanimous approval of the $93 million project’s basic design, but changes are still expected because $4 million must be cut from the estimated cost. School Board trustees voted 8-0 Monday night to approve the new school’s design.
That means approval of the architects’ drawings showing the character and exterior look of the building, the 292,000-square-foot size and where classrooms, the library, auditorium, gyms, playing fields, and parking will go. “I really appreciate the design,” trustee Wendy Tage said. She liked having a large grassy space in front of the school’s entrance, instead of parking lots and “big swatches of asphalt — the ugliest things there are.”
“I feel great. This is a huge milestone, knowing the board agrees with the design direction,” Bob Franzen of CTA Architects Engineers said. Franzen said that working with the construction managers at Langlas and Associates, the team has shaved costs from $11 million over budget to $4 million over budget. They will bring the School Board a detailed plan on how to get everything within target budget of roughly $76 million on Jan. 8.
Asked what they’re proudest of, design architect Nathan Helfrich said the main entry to the student commons. It features a large wall of glass and some red brick, the same color as the Bozeman Hotel, intended to echo the look of the historic downtown.
The entry leads right into a big open space, the student commons, dominated by a “monument” staircase, a pyramid of steps where hundreds of students are expected to eat lunch, hang out and hold dances and assemblies. “Everything radiates from the central commons,” Helfrich said.
Three wings would open out from the center — a three-story classroom wing to the west, an eastern wing with a 750-seat auditorium and three gyms, and a northern wing with art, career, and shop classes. In every wing, there would be electronic “lock-down points” that could close off hallways at the push of a button for security.