By Gabrielle Gasser ASSOCIATE EDITOR
By Gabrielle Gasser
BIG SKY – After 13 years as a Class C school, Lone Peak High School just got a B. The Montana High School Association determined that LPHS’s student population has grown large enough to be reclassified as Class B starting in the 2023-24 school year.
At an April 19 School Board meeting, Athletic Director John Hannahs announced the change in his activities report to the Big Sky School District School Board of Trustees.
“Any sign of growth for the district is a good thing,” Hannahs told EBS. “The town is growing, and the school should grow with. [There is] a lot of exciting stuff coming down the pipeline as far as our academic and athletic expansion goes.”
Hannahs learned of the change last week after the MHSA executive board meeting on April 11-12, though he said he anticipated the announcement. MHSA adjusted classification numbers at its November 2021 executive board meeting defining Class C as schools with enrollment from 1-100 and Class B as enrollment from 101-300.
According to Superintendent Dustin Shipman, LPHS will be the largest it has ever been this coming school year with a projected enrollment of 121 students. The upcoming 2022-23 school year will be the school’s final year as Class C.
LPHS is joined by six other schools in the jump from Class C to Class B including Ennis High School, which was also in District 12C. Five of the seven schools that moved up in classification are in southwestern Montana pointing to a larger trend in area growth, Shipman said at the meeting.
Four other high schools met the enrollment guidelines to jump to Class B but successfully petitioned the MHSA board to remain in their current classification.
LPHS is tentatively assigned to District 5B for basketball, volleyball and track and field and Division 3 for boys’ and girls’ golf, according to MHSA. The high school will remain in the Eastern division for soccer, the Southern division for eight-player football and the Southwest division for B-C tennis.