Despite the coronavirus outbreak, construction workers are still making good progress at Bozeman’s second high school.
Gallatin High is now 90% complete. And it has dinosaur tracks imprinted in the concrete walkway entering the school to represent the new school mascot, the Raptors.
“Everybody’s doing a fantastic job,” Todd Swinehart, the school district’s facilities director, said Monday. “They’re still moving along over there.”
The Bozeman School Board was scheduled to vote Monday to approve an update on the project’s progress.
Gov. Steve Bullock’s emergency stay-at-home orders last month because of the coronavirus exempted several occupations deemed essential, including construction workers.
Gallatin High School’s general contractor, Langlas and Associates, came up with a list of procedures everyone had to follow at the site to keep workers safe from the aggressive virus. The number of people visiting the site has been limited, workers have to wash their hands when they enter the site, stay at least 6 feet away from others, and have their temperatures checked every morning. If different trades need to use the same area, they use different schedules.
In a 300,000-square-foot building, there’s plenty of room for workers to stay 6 feet apart, Swinehart said.
“I am really encouraged that we’re still on track,” said Gallatin High Principal Erica Schnee. “Langlas has been outstanding in keeping the workplace safe.”
The $91 million project still is aiming for completion by June, which should allow two months for moving in and making sure all systems are working before classes start in August. The school cost $78.7 million for the “brick and mortar” construction, plus millions more for “soft costs” like architects, permits, city impact fees and $5 million worth for everything from desks to uniforms.
Once Gallatin High is complete, Langlas will tackle renovating and modernizing Bozeman High, a $29.5 million project slated to start around June 12.
In these final weeks of construction at Gallatin High, workers are installing carpet, cabinets and countertops. Seats are ready to install in the new auditorium. Classrooms are coming along nicely, Swinehart said. The main competition gym has a Raptor logo painted on the wooden floor and “GHS” spelled out in the bleachers.
In the cavernous entry area that will be the student commons, a giant stairway is under construction that’s expected to become a student-gathering place. It was a challenge for workers to figure out how to assemble, but they’re doing a fantastic job, Swinehart said.
During last week’s warm weather, concrete was poured for the main sidewalk in front of the school entry and Raptor footprints were stamped into the concrete. School officials checked with the Museum of the Rockies to get the footprints right, and upsized them a little so they’d stand out, Swinehart said.
Tours of the new school for students and public, originally planned for the first week of April, had to be canceled when the governor ordered Montana schools to close starting March 16. Tours haven’t yet been rescheduled and will likely depend on when the governor lifts shelter-in-place orders, Schnee said.
Voters passed a historic $125 million bond issue in 2017 to build the second high school and renovate Bozeman High to accommodate Bozeman’s growing number of students. Gallatin High is under construction in northwest Bozeman at West Oak Street and Cottonwood Road.
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