$48 million Hayden school campus project expected to break ground in March
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Ahead of a scheduled groundbreaking in March, the nearly finalized plans for the new school in Hayden were presented at a community meeting last week.
Cuningham Group Architecture gave the crowd of about 50 people a detailed walk-through of the floor plans for the new 99,364-square-foot facility. The company also described the 37,598 square feet of renovations slated for the existing elementary school.
The current construction estimate is $47.9 million. Of that, $38.9 million comes from the Building Excellent Schools Today grant awarded to the district in May. The grant, which is not intended to fund future growth, stipulates the new school be built to accommodate Hayden School District’s current enrollment, which is 435 pre-K through 12th-grade students.
The new campus includes the existing elementary school, so those students will move offsite into the secondary school, which houses middle and high school students, while construction is underway.
The new secondary school will be built to the west of the existing elementary school, with the new track and field to the west of the new building. The campus is expected to be ready for students at the start of the 2020-21 school year.
The fate of the old secondary school remains unknown.
Hayden School District Superintendent Christy Sinner said she is working with Town Manager Mat Mendisco and a community focus group to determine the viability of keeping the auditorium and gym space available. The BEST grant stipulates the old building would have to be demolished or taken over by a group outside the school district. Sinner said they will continue to pursue the second option and will go before the Board of Education in April with a final report.
If another entity takes over the auditorium and gym, the remaining part of the building still would be demolished. If not, the entire school would be demolished, per grant requirements.
Campus design and layout
As the details of the new building are finalized, a number of questions from the community at last week’s meeting stressed the desire for materials that will endure and require minimal maintenance.
Some of the final decisions include the exterior material, which changed from wood to metal based on the community’s preference for durability. The architects showed several options for metal siding, with warm tones inspired by surrounding barns and hayfields.
The elementary school will get a new roof and insulation, which will be a welcome upgrade from the current secondary school. Currently, certain areas remain frigid throughout the winter.
One thing the community is most excited about, Sinner said, are the three gyms — especially as the school continues to expand its role as a venue for public events.
The elementary school gym largely will remain as is, but there will be a new “gymnatorium,” doubling as a gym and auditorium, on the western edge of the new building. A new full-size gym will be located next to that on the southwest corner of the school.
The large gym will hold close to 900 people on bleacher seats for sporting events and about 1,200 people at maximum capacity, with floor seating, for events like graduation.
The Babson-Carpenter Career and Technical Education Center will be relocated to the north side of the gymnatorium, with auto body, welding and wood shops as well as an art room. The bus barn will take over the old Babson Center, which will allow the district to have all its buses and small vehicles inside, Sinner said.
Architects enthusiastically highlighted the campus courtyard, which connects to the bright and airy cafeteria, so kids can eat indoors or outdoors. The courtyard also will act as a common area and outdoor education space.
A far cry from the dark meandering hallways of the old building, architects said the new school’s interior is designed with plenty of natural light, drawing inspiration from the mountains, water and trees in Hayden’s surrounding landscape.
A portion of the new building will be two stories with classrooms and a media center on the second floor. Part of the second floor will be open to the cafeteria below.
The new kitchen facilities also will be a welcome upgrade as the secondary school’s kitchen is unusable, and food has to be transported each day from the elementary school kitchen.
The new facility will have state-of-the-art safety features with a secure check-in vestibule at the front desk and security cameras monitoring the perimeter.
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