32 Hours in Bozeman

I flew out to Bozeman for an interview for the project architect position open at Montana State University Facilities. Let me start by telling you how that happened, all too fast for me really. I randomly applied for the position, not really thinking I would actually hear anything beyond the typical “Thanks, we got it,” message. That was a Monday. That same Wednesday I got a call asking me to do a phone interview the next day. It was about 30 minutes long and some of the hardest questions I’ve ever been asked at an interview. Standard questions. I was pretty sure that was a fail, you should have heard me. They said they would let people know probably late next week if they wanted to schedule and on campus interview.  The weekend that followed was Memorial Day.  Tuesday evening I got a call asking me to schedule an interview for either the next Friday or Monday. What the what?!?!??! I wanted to push it back another week if I could so I could just drive over from South Dakota before going to Denver, but they couldn’t do that. The only day they could do it was May 7th. Okay, so that was that I was booking a ticket eight days out to fly to Bozeman.

Arriving Sunset

Arriving Sunset

I got in at 9:30 PM on Thursday and there was still sunshine a beautiful sunset. There was light until at least 10. That is definitely one of the things I miss most about the west. I was hoping to pick up a Pickle Barrel sandwich quick, but I got there just after 10 and they were closed so I just went downtown to Torinio’s for a slice of pizza and crashed at my hotel. I was at the C’mon Inn, which has like five hot tubs. I was still on east coast time, so I got up at 6, went down to soak for a bit before grabbing some coffee and heading back upstairs to prepare. I left early so I could stop by The Daily for my favorite lemon muffin and headed to my interview which started at 9AM.

C'mon Inn

C’mon Inn

This was the longest interview I have ever had. There was three parts. The first was with the search committee, who I had the phone interview with. Then we went over the benefits and their scheduling. After that was a tour of different spaces and projects on campus that the project architect did and by the project designers. Basically, the project architect does a lot of work with the “client,” which could be a department head, someone managing housing and so on. They help them figure out the budget and program. The projects can be done in house from start to finish as long as the construction cost are below a certain amount. If it is over that amount, the project is typically passed to a project manager who will work with architecture and other consultant firms outside of the university to complete the project. The last part of the interview was meeting with the head of Facilities. He was really nice and grew up in New York, so we spent a bit of time talking about the best pizza and how there needs to be better Italian places in Bozeman. I was finished at 1. Whew.

I ran down to the temporary School of Architecture, Cheever Hall is being seismically upgraded, in the art school building to meet with one of my old professors who is now the interim director of the school. I talked to him for over an hour about what was going on at the school, what the need for new faculty currently was, and what I was up to. He is such a nice guy and I was really happy to hear they were reversing a few decisions they made when I was finishing up, realizing that it just wasn’t working the way they hoped. I came away with a few more programs to look at and people to contact.
After all of that I went to the SUB and got a huge Fat Cat cookie to get me through until I met Greg for an early dinner. After that I ran a few errands, like buying a bottle of Roughneck Montana Whiskey for Kurt, and dealing with some emails and Architecture for Humanity stuff back at the hotel. Next to the liquor place, which was new to me, as was the Buffalo Wild Wings across the way, I went through this bizarre mini downtown like block that only had a few stores in it and looks absolutely ridiculous. Greg said it’s been there for a while and been mostly empty the entire time. I don’t know why I didn’t take a picture. I guess cause I was talking to my dad at the time. Anyway. Sillly.
Bozeman BBGreg and I met at the new Bridger Brewing on 11th Street where there used to be an old theater. They had 6 different beers on tap and made some pretty good pizzas. We ordered flights and two pizzas to share. One was buffalo pepperoni, my favorite, and one with adoule sausage and pineapple, which was also really good. We went back to hang out at Gregs after dinner, both of us a bit tired. Greg’s roommate and another friend Daryl was home. We hung out for a bit before one of his friends showed up to head down town. By that time I had found my second wind, but Greg was done, so I said I would go downtown for a drink before crashing out.
Bozeman RBWe went to the new back porch of Bar IX, it had just opened the week before and is right where Bozeman Creek reappears from under the buildings on Main Street. The Fat Tire Brewing Company was promoting it’s latest beer, Rolle Bolle, with a mini version of the lawn game. We proceeded to hold the table for a couple hours, at least. The game hostess was annoying in her strong desire to perfect our game for us, but she kept giving us free beer, so the boys were willing to look past it. I was driving. How annoying driving can be. After we lost the table we headed down to the new Rocking R Bar, the original was  destroyed in a gas explosion years ago. The bar was bigger with a large pool area in the back, but otherwise it seemed pretty much the same. Same crowd, same decor, same reasons for never really liking  it. It was still fun, but it’s funny how things do and don’t change.
In the end, we basically closed the bars, so much for hanging out for a bit, and I drove the guys home and headed back to the hotel to pack and catch a couple hours of sleep before needed to get on my 6:30AM flight back to New York. I finally heard back from Facilities last week, and unfortunately or fortunately, I didn’t get the position. After the interviews and learning more about what the position was about, I was on the fence about whether or not it was really what I wanted to do.  And even though I love love love Bozeman, I’m not sure if I am ready to return to what I now think of as a small town. And so the search continues.


PS- sorry for the lack of pictures, I was really bad with my June travels, and didn’t take many…