Three years in the making and $93 million later, students are getting their first look at the new Gallatin High School in Bozeman.
Gallatin High School already looks big from the outside, so on the inside, it seems even larger.
Around 600 students, all eighth graders, got to walk the hall for the very first time, starting to imagine what it will be like to be the first Raptors.
“It was really exciting to watch them interact with a lot of professionals from around the community," says Brian Ayers, principal of Chief Joseph Middle School. “Just that exposure and just getting kids, especially eighth graders, thinking about future careers."
Young minds toured the 72 future classrooms, space for them and about 900 other students with them, mingling with the experts behind the construction.
“They get to see the new school which they are really excited about, but then they get to see those trades in action," Ayers says.
It’s more than 300,000 square feet that the students got to check out Friday, from the two-story library to the brand new cafeteria — all new halls that they get to look forward to, including the cavernous gymnasium.
“They are so critically important," says Steve Johnson, deputy superintendent of operations at Bozeman Public Schools. "When you hear about all of the shortages we have in the valley, it’s important for these kids to realize that there’s opportunity.”
Out of around 1,000 different tasks required to build a school this size, more than half are checked off the list, something Bozeman school leaders know students can learn a lot from.
“I had an opportunity to be here this morning on one of the tours and the questions they asked about the electrical system and the mechanical system and the heating system and, you know, we got into a discussion about geothermal energy and efficiency in the building," Johnson says. "It was just rich.”
As of Friday, the school is about 67 percent complete and it’s actually a little ahead of schedule, so the doors are on track to open next year.