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Rimrock school

Rimrock School sits empty on Wednesday, October 11.

Rimrock Elementary School, closed since 2008, will reopen next school year.

School District 2 Superintendent Terry Bouck made the announcement Thursday during Educator for a Day, an event sponsored by the Education Foundation for Billings Public Schools.

Bouck said that money left over from 2013's $122 million bond would be used to get Rimrock "up to speed."

It's unclear what role Rimrock will play for the district. Bouck declined to provide specifics about the plan for the school until talking to trustees and educators. SD2 has a school board meeting Monday. 

The district has about $6 million left over from bonds that it already issued from the 2013 election, Bouck said, which will be put toward improving Rimrock.

In an email to school trustees on Nov. 10, Bouck wrote that, "the District expects the remaining $6 million in identified projects to be complete by September of 2019."

The district also has about $8 million in bonds that it hasn't issued. Bouck said that he will not recommend that the bonds be issued, which would result in savings for taxpayers paying off the bond. 

The 10-classroom school is one of the smallest in the district and was initially closed in 2001. SD2 reopened the school as a kindergarten center in 2007 and closed it again the next year.

In 2013, SD2 officials estimated that it would cost $1.2 million to reopen Rimrock.

The school is adjacent to Rocky Mountain College, and the land was part of the college's strategic plan for future buildings.

Because of contract language when SD2 purchased the site in 1951, the building could only be used for a school, or must be be sold back to Rocky.

In 2015, trustees authorized Bouck to explore a sale to Rocky. However, Bouck noted at a facilities meeting this fall that those talks had cooled.

College President Bob Wilmouth said "we will support you in any endeavor out there."

Wilmouth said the college and district had been looking at some "joint ventures."

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Morning Reporter

General assignment reporter for the Billings Gazette.

Education Reporter

Education reporter for the Billings Gazette.