Several Highlands College students hope to name the second highest peak in the Highlands mountain range after the school they attend.
The peak, which is located on the line between Madison and Silver Bow counties, is without an official name. Since the fall of 2011, about 30 civil engineering technology students at Highlands College have done scientific and administrative work to get the peak named Montana Tech Peak.
The peak, known officially only by its elevation — Peak 10,131 — is 17 miles south of Butte. It sits about a mile south of Red Mountain and 1.25 miles northwest of Table Mountain, which is the highest peak in the range at 10,223 feet.
In April, students presented their proposal to the Madison County commissioners, who unanimously agreed to write a letter of support for the new name. The next step for the students is to present the idea to the Butte-Silver Bow County council of commissioners.
John Garic, dean of Highlands College, said the name could be changed by next spring if all goes according to plan. Gov. Steve Bullock and a property owner on the peak have already agreed to the name change, though Bullock has yet to commit to it in writing, according to Garic. State and federal officials would also have to agree.
Garic said the students came up with the concept during a survey class taught by Eric Martin that required them to survey local peaks.
Since beginning the process, the students have studied various property rules and regulations, which Garic said has been a great learning experience.
“A lot of civil engineering technology is understanding the law of property,” Garic said. “(It’s) understanding how different laws are created and legislative bodies go about creating things.”
Highlands College students Jon Craig and Larissa Watson presented a Powerpoint to the Madison commissioners, and Garic said the real-life experience has been invaluable.
“When you can create a situation that role models life, you not only have a higher retention rate, but higher satisfaction rate,” Garic said.
In their presentation, the students explained that some of the reasoning behind the name is because Tech has always taught geology and because the peak is predominantly visible from the Tech campus.
Though the students have met with success so far, Garic has cautioned them the work is not yet done.
“I tell them that the fact that we think this is a great idea doesn’t mean everyone will think this is a great idea,” he said.
Francis Davis can be reached at francis.davis @mtstandard.com.