Design process underway for new Hayden school

Cuningham Group Architecture released the conceptual rendering of Hayden’s new pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade campus on Breeze Basin Road. It is a preliminary design and subject to change.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Hayden School District is getting closer to a blueprint for its new prekindergarten through 12th-grade campus.

Consisting of 19 community members and educators, the Design Advisory Group has been meeting since July. They’ve gathered input from administrators, board members, teachers, students and residents.

Most of the consulting, design, surveying and construction team has been hired, and the district is currently in the process of procuring an abatement contractor.

Cuningham Group Architecture recently released a schematic design for the new school, though it’s still in the conceptual phase and subject to continued evolutions. Next, they enter the design development phase.

$38.8 million BEST grant, which the district received in May from the Colorado Department of Education, will help fund the $61 million project.

The new school’s entrance will be east-facing along Breeze Basin Road. Providing a unified, “prominent and welcoming entry” was a key driver, said architect Kari-elin Mock. Indoor and outdoor gathering spaces for the whole school, including a courtyard, were also prioritized by the advisory group.

The campus is being designed so it can be easily utilized and accessed for various community functions, said owners representative Colleen Kaneda.

Plans call for construction of a new football field and track and two gymnasiums, giving the district a total of three including the existing small elementary gym. One will also function as an auditorium.

The BEST grant stipulates the new facility accommodate the district’s current enrollment of 439, Mock said, and doesn’t fund future growth. However, she said the advisory group is “making a thoughtful design” with some flexibility, and if Hayden does grow, they are considering possibilities for expansion.

Some of the biggest challenges, Mock said, are the site’s expansive soil and the space limitations set by the hillside.

As plans proceed for the new campus, the future of the old middle school and high school remains uncertain. The BEST grant dictates the demolition of the building, unless another entity elects to purchase or operate and maintain it upon donation.

Demolition is a stipulation of the grant so the community not be left with an eyesore. It also mandates the district not retain ownership of the land or repurposed buildings.

Different entities have expressed interest in at least parts of the old building, particularly the gymnasium and the auditorium, Superintendent Christy Sinner said.

Much of the old buildings are in bad shape and poorly designed with a maze of long, dark hallways and eight unsupervised, and often, unsecured entrances. The middle school was built in 1947 and the high school in 1972.

There are safety issues with pedestrian and vehicular traffic, student drop-off points, and in 2011, a car plowed into a classroom from U.S. Highway 40. Also in 2011, the middle school gymnasium was determined to be a health and safety hazard and was condemned and moved.

Ongoing roof issues have caused excessive water damage, and there are cracks in the walls and slopes in the floors — evidence of shifting and structural damage. The oldest parts of the building have asbestos, walls lack insulation and the electrical systems are outdated.

The kitchen is not functional, and food is now transported from the elementary school. The heating and ventilating systems are outdated, and the track is nonregulation and unsanctioned.

Comparatively, the Hayden Elementary School, built in 1977, is in better shape and thus will be incorporated into the new campus. However, it will require replacement of the aging plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems among other renovations and improvements.

The much newer Babson-Carpenter Career and Vocational Center, built in 2007, will continue to be used.

The process has been very open and collaborative, according to Sinner.

“Everyone’s voices are being integrated, and the community is getting very excited,” she said. “We couldn’t be happier with the direction in which we are moving toward.”

The plan is to break ground in spring 2019 and have the project completed before the school year starts in 2020.

The next community meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Dec. 4 in the elementary school cafeteria.

To reach Kari Dequine Harden, call 970-871-4205, email or follow her on Twitter @KariHarden.

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