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Hayden eyeing new schools

Construction crews work on tearing down the condemned Hayden Middle School gym in 2011.
John F. Russell

If you go

What: Open house to discuss new facilities

When: 4 to 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 1

Where: Hayden High School lobby

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to reflect how much money the BEST grant program has raised.

The Hayden School District is eyeing free money from the state to help pay for a single building and campus that would house all of the district’s facilities.

District officials believe the new facility is necessary to provide a safe place to meet the community’s educational needs for the next 50 years.

“That’s our goal,” Hayden Superintendent Phil Kasper said.

The district is soliciting input from the community on two proposals for the new campus. An open house to discuss the topic will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday.

Kasper said a 2014 state assessment of the district’s buildings showed $26 million worth of work was needed to make repairs and upgrades.

In 2011, the district was forced to tear down the middle school gymnasium because of asbestos and major structural issues.

According to a state assessment from 2008 and 2009, the cost of renovating the buildings would be 77 percent of what it would cost to build new buildings.

“Which is very extreme in Colorado,” Kasper said. “Most of the time when you get numbers in the 60s, you’re contemplating a significant remodel.”

Because of the high number, the district has a competitive chance of getting a grant that would cover 47 percent of the cost of the project.

The Building Excellent Schools Today, or BEST, grant is administered by the Colorado Department of Education Division of Public School Construction Assistance.

Since 2008, the BEST program has received more than $662 million in revenue. More than 76 percent of the funding comes from State Land Trust funds. Another 16 percent comes from marijuana excise taxes.

By early next year, the school board needs to decide whether to apply for the grant.

“I think the grant process is certainly an opportunity to pursue, and it’s necessary if we’re going to move forward in any form or fashion,” school board President Brian Hoza said.

Cost estimates for the project will be available once the district puts together its grant application.

If the district is awarded the grant, the school board would then need to ask taxpayers to potentially cover the remaining 53 percent of the project cost. That could happen as soon as the November 2017 election.

“We know there is and always will be a split in terms of support or otherwise,” Hoza said.

A 12-member committee of district officials and community members has been overseeing the planning process for the new facilities.

“The facility planning process is something that has needed to be done for a long time,” board member Tammie Delaney said.

Kevin Lind, an architect who also serves as a board member, said they have identified the 21-acre parcel of land where Hayden Valley Elementary School currently sits as the location for the consolidated campus. The existing school would be incorporated into that campus.

Alan Ford Architects of Denver, which has experience building schools, was hired to draw up the initial plans.

Lind said there are efficiencies with having a single campus, and the parcel of land gives the district an opportunity to grow in the future.

The public would be able to utilize the facilities for recreation, performing arts and meetings.

“In order for us to make this work for everyone, there needs to be a community benefit,” Lind said.

A question remains about what to do with the old middle school, high school and Babson-Carpenter Career and Technical Education Center.

“There is a tremendous amount of resistance from community members based on the fear that there would be an existing middle school and high school vacated,” Lind said.

Lind believes there are a lot of opportunities for repurposing the buildings either privately or publicly. He said the 10 acres of land where the high school and middle school sit have value that could be used to help fund the consolidated campus project.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland


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