Big Sky School District Superintendent Dustin Shipman discusses the district at the recent Community Building Forum, noting that the district is the largest public employer in the community. PHOTO BY JANA BOUNDS

Big Sky Chamber of Commerce Community Building Forum series

Big Sky School District on growth, the $23.5 bond and facility expansion

Noting well over 100% growth in the school district in the last decade, Big Sky School District (BSSD) Superintendent Dustin Shipman credited the forward thinking members of the school board for helping position the district. Lone Peak High School was the first approved high school expansion in Montana for over 60 years after its accreditation in 2009.

Now with an enrollment of 416 students between the elementary, middle and high school as well as a $23.5 million bond approved in April, BSSD looks to a facility expansion in light of all the growth and with community focus in mind.

The revamping comes with a programming focus, including a Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Music Facility.

"I can say with 100% certainty we are the only high school of any classification in the State of Montana that does not have a facility where kids can learn to build things with power tools, with technology, with CNC machines. This is really going to be the anchor for this particular project,” Shipman said during the building forum.

Purpose built facilities are in the works “where the students can really design, build, be creative and be innovative.”

The upcoming transition from a Class C to a Class B school also means athletic facilities need to be expanded for competitions.

In addition to a gym expansion, fields will be converted to Astroturf to allow for more continuous use. The district now offers football, volleyball, basketball, track and field, golf, tennis and most recently soccer.

Shipman noted that the facilities are being built to also be used by community members, not just by students.

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