School Board trustees raised questions Monday about architects’ preliminary designs for Bozeman’s second high school and in the end gave it their unanimous endorsement. “I’ve been very impressed,” Chair Andy Willett said, after the board voted 7-0 to approve the schematic design. “You guys are doing a great job, in my opinion.”
Bob Franzen, lead architect with CTA Architects Engineers, said the schematic is a preliminary design, meant to show scale and how different parts — classrooms, gym, auditorium, student commons, playing fields, and streets — would relate to each other.
“I think it’ll be a beautiful building,” Superintendent Rob Watson said. “I think the architects will do some nice things with the façade — some brick, some metal, some color. … I think it will be beautiful.”
Voters passed a $125 million bond issue in May to build a second high school and renovate Bozeman High, which is expected to run out of space in three years because of the city’s rapid growth. The new school will be built on 57 acres bordered by West Oak Street and Flanders Mill, Cottonwood and Durston roads.
The heart of the 303,000-square-foot school would be the student commons or Town Center, said Nate Helfrich, CTA design architect. It would be a large open space, open on two floors with overlooking balconies. There students could eat lunch, hold pep rallies, dances, and informal performances, said Corey Johnson, educational planner. From the Town Center, students would have close access to the auditorium, the main gym, counseling, and the principal’s office and library. Three “learning streets” would radiate out from the center to classroom wings.
The front entry, which would face to the south, would feature a lot of glass. Students would have easy access from the Town Center outside to a large grassy field, intended to give the school a “campus feel,” Johnson said.
Alex Russell, lead mechanical engineer for CTA, said they are recommending using a “green” geothermal system to heat and cool the school. Instead of using traditional boilers for heating, the geothermal wells would draw water in from underground, use that energy to warm or cool the building, and then return the water to the aquifer.
JIM BEAL, CTA DESIGN DIRECTOR
“The early design process has been a highly collaborative exercise over the summer between members of the school board, educators, and our design team. The concept captures the school district’s vision to connect to the heritage of the Gallatin Valley, engage the Bozeman community, be future-flexible and adaptable, and create a diverse learning environment that exposes students to all areas of study.”