New SD2 Middle School Sites OK'd - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

New SD2 Middle School Sites OK'd

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A plan that could change the education landscape in the Magic City is moving forward Monday, as Billings School District Two's Board of Trustees chose new sites for two new middle schools.

In a Board meeting Monday evening, the board approved a recommendation to place one of the new middle schools near the intersection of 56th Street West and Grand Avenue, and one in the Heights. The location in the Heights is not yet clear, but it will be in one of three spots close to Bitterroot Elementary School.

"We did not expect the school to move this quickly," said Stacey Hemming. "We knew it was on the ballot to build two more Junior Highs in town. We did figure one would be in the Heights."

Both Tyler Hemming and Alex Drinkwalter attended Castlerock Middle School in the last school year. They were at a ballgame that took place near the proposed middle school site Monday night, and said for them, going to school can be a lengthy affair.

"10, 15 minutes." said Tyler, when asked about the time it takes for him to go to school.

"The busdriver has to take all those trips," said Alex. "I have to get on the bus at 7:10 a.m."

While the distance between Bitterroot Schools and Castlerock Middle School are only 2.5 miles, according to Google Maps, Stacey said it's the area's traffic that is of concern.

"As you get closer to Castlerock School, it becomes more populated, and traffic against Skyview High School. So you battle that a little bit in the morning," said Stacey.

If SD2 wins a possible bond election to get money for the project, the schools could start taking students in a few years. It might be too late for both Alex and Tyler, as they are going to high school soon, but the new school could cut travel time for other kids in their neighborhood, when they attend middle school.

"It'd be fun to just be a short ride just to here, and don't have to worry about being late," said Alex.

"It'd be really nice," said Tyler, "because then, a lot of people that live out where I live, their parents wouldn't use as much gas."