Dowling Studio Architects rendering of MSU-Billings Science Hall remodel
and the new Yellowstone Health Science Building which opened Summer 2021 .

Craig & MaryAnn Pierson donated $50k RMD furnishing a Conference room


Deserving Montana-resident students with limited resources need our helping hands to pursue their dream of a college education. From July 2019 to November 2020, over 800 generous donors rallied to help these students by contributing gifts in all amounts to support Montana Access Scholarships. Your gifts, matched dollar-for-dollar by the state through the Montana Legislature-approved Montana Access Scholarship initiative, made it possible to provide critical scholarship funding through the 2020-2021 academic year. The University of Montana is empowering these students to succeed.



An elevator for Central High in 2021- Pierson donated $90k, and wrote a Gianforte grant $50k

This project will add an elevator to serve all 3 levels at Billings Central Catholic High School.

Our high school, built in mid 1950's and augmented by an auxiliary gym and training rooms in the 1980's, does not have an elevator to serve any of the classrooms below grade or upstairs. The 1980's athletic facilities are accessible, but retrofitting the older building was not performed.

Having a compliant K-8 facility but not such a high school precludes students or handicapped staff from utilizing all of the high school. The science lab is upstairs, and music and art are in the basement, with only about 40% of classrooms at ground level.

Our issue is not just refusing admission to handicapped students. Every school year about 10 students sustain injuries or have surgeries impairing mobility and often take unacceptable risks using the stairs to avoid missing classes. Applicant personally experienced accessibility issues upon breaking an ankle prior to the present school year, and he had to postpone conducting lab activities until he was able to use the stairs.

We seek an elevator making the building fully ADA-accessible and additionally capable of moving equipment among the 3 levels, such as wheeled trash bins, floor maintenance machines, freezer for lab, desks, large copy machines, cases of printer paper, and other heavy lifting/carrying which is unsafe using the stairs.

Students, because of sports or other injury (or permanently disabled), and unable to use the stairs, are confined to the library to study work brought to them, or attend classes only in ground-floor classrooms. Presently heavy lifting/carrying is done by volunteer boys or staff using the stairs. The modern, well-equipped laboratory on the 2nd floor, is inaccessible to anyone unable to use the stairs.

An elevator allows the high school to serve any graduate from our ADA-compliant K-8 school, and students admitted from the larger community who may be temporarily or permanently disabled. Likewise, custodial and teaching staff may be employed regardless of mobility handicap, and not be at risk for transporting heavy loads upstairs. Staff and students at the high school number about 330, with annual turnover of about 80-100.


The BCS Foundation's Dorothy Porter endowment provides income to support building upkeep and improvements, such as boiler replacement. A two-year allocation these funds will provide about $250,000 for the elevator project. Applicant has donated two Required Minimum Distributions from his IRA totaling $90,000, some of which has financed architectural work.

Architect is consulting the low bidder (bid $473,300) for alternates, like a slower or smaller elevator, to lower project cost. We are seeking grants and gifts to allow us to proceed with the elevator project.

Grant request by C. Pierson to the Gianforte Foundation for BCCHS Elevator


Volunteer Involvement Fund Grant