On Twitter: BHS Football Lays Sod

#Bozeman High football players laying sod Thursday @Mandeville Creek meander project. @bdcnews pic.twitter.com/QJWWBlyYQx — Gail Schontzler (@gailnews) August 28, 2014

Bozeman High’s creek getting major makeover

Excavators from Sime Construction work to dig out a four foot deep and seven and a half feet wide expansion of Mandeville Creek alongside Bozeman High School Tuesday afternoon. Photo (c) Mike Greener/Chronicle

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After years of dreaming and months of planning, volunteers working to turn a straight ditch on the Bozeman High School campus into an attractive, meandering creek are seeing their idea become reality.

“It’s happening!” stream restoration expert Scott Gillilan said Tuesday.

Along North 11th Avenue, the air was filled with the beep-beep-beep from a hydraulic excavator and Bobcat loader. Sime Construction workers used their heavy equipment to dig a winding channel for the new streambed and fill in the old ditch.

Gillilan said by the end of next week, he hopes it will look like the creek has been in its new channel forever.

Volunteers to bring new life to Bozeman High's Mandeville Creek

Chris Wasia watercolor_small size

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GAIL SCHONTZLER, Chronicle Staff Writer

Mandeville Creek looks like a lowly ditch where it runs straight along the east edge of the Bozeman High School campus, but for years teacher Robin Hompesch has dreamed of turning it into an inviting, meandering stream.

After years of writing grants and months of meetings with volunteers, Hompesch and those who share her dream are finally ready to “bring the creek to life.”

In mid-August, they plan to break ground for the first phase of the “meander the Mandeville” project. Their ultimate goal is to create a winding, natural streambed, shaded by willows and trees, bounded by boulders, with handsome bridges and outdoor classrooms for students.

“It’s wonderful,” Hompesch said Tuesday. “So many people have volunteered incredible amounts of professional time – it’s so heartwarming.”

As a biology and wildlife ecology teacher, Hompesch said she tells students about the importance of water and riparian habitats in the arid West.

“I talk and talk,” she said, “and then students walk outside and see this creek that has been abused.”

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BHS Student Design Sessions

In Spring 2014, students participated in design sessions to share their ideas for amenities along the re-meandered creek. From stepping stones to small gathering spaces with seating and shade to outdoor classrooms, student input has strongly influenced project design.

Click the dots along the bottom of the photos to see the models students created.