SD2 Middle School Planning - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

SD2 Middle School Planning

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BILLINGS -

School District Two held a planning and development meeting Tuesday night, and unanimously passed a motion to recommend the Heights middle school be built first.

The school board has been in a process of deciding which middle school to build first, and weighed a variety of factors in the meeting on Tuesday.

"After looking at all the information, sidewalks, and walkability, transportation costs, I felt the Heights was the common sense site to build," said Lindy Graves, SD2 trustee.

A handout listed site selection factors and notes on the two sites. For instance, the Bench Boulevard construction project is scheduled to finish by Fall 2016 and the architects say one benefit is coordinating the design of the school with the street project. On Grand and 56th, county roads intersect with city roads, and the city's earliest potential improvement project for Grand Avenue is in 2020. The School Board's information specified that the West End site doesn't have sidewalks, while the site in the Heights does.

"It gives us a little more time to work with the other stakeholders about getting that road improved," Graves said.

The board decided the West End site had more factors that needed work.

"It's exciting to see that this is coming true," said Lew Anderson, SD2 facilities executive director. "It's a dream come true for me and it also is going to be a great boost for the community."

If the board accepts the recommendation at the January 20 meeting, the Heights middle school will be scheduled to open August 2016 and the West End school in August 2017.

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