Heritage Christian School offers to sell property to Steamboat Springs School District | SteamboatToday.com

Heritage Christian School offers to sell property to Steamboat Springs School District

— The owners of Heritage Christian School west of Steamboat are offering to sell the campus to the Steamboat Springs School District for $9.8 million.

With only about 100 students, the 19-classroom building is much larger than Heritage needs, according to Ty Lockhart, the school’s original developer and registered agent of the Christian Heritage Foundation of Steamboat Springs, which owns the property.

Lockhart and his wife, Betty, founded and built the school in 1998 along with a group of volunteers. They said a new, more modest school could be built elsewhere, and the original campus would better serve the Steamboat Springs School District, solving its space issue.

“It’s here, and it may not be perfect, but they can spend some money and get it up to their standards,” Ty Lockhart said.

Increasing enrollment led the Steamboat Springs School Board and district administrators to begin discussing last fall the need for either a third elementary school or the addition of more classrooms at the current elementary schools.

The district has since hired a pre-bond engineer and selected an architect, and the School Board is considering a potential bond measure and capital construction project, though what type of project has yet to be determined.

Superintendent Brad Meeks said Lockhart approached the district with the offer in August, and Meeks and at least four School Board members have since toured the building.

The option to purchase the school wasn’t discussed during any recent School Board meetings or at a community meeting with the district’s engineer last month.

“Property negotiations are typically conducted in closed sessions, and we try to keep that confidential,” said Meeks, citing the school district’s standard practice.

Meeks said he was impressed with the size of the Heritage Christian School building but was unsure how much it would cost for renovations to bring the structure up to district standards.

“Certainly, we’d have to do some work to it,” Meeks said.

The 47,450-square-foot school has a high school regulation-size basketball court, a cafeteria/auditorium and a 337-square foot kitchen with adjacent areas that could be turned into more kitchen space.

The 19 classrooms vary in size, but average 650 square feet, substantially smaller that the district’s existing elementary schools — Soda Creek classrooms average 1,000 square feet and Strawberry Park’s classes are all 820 square feet.

Meeks said the kitchen would need to be upgraded for commercial use, and technology, electrical engineering, HVAC systems and several other components of the building need to be assessed.

In the short term, Lockhart has offered the district four classrooms to lease for use as early as the fall to prevent the district from needing to purchase more modular classrooms.

“I certainly appreciate Ty’s offer,” Meeks said. “In the short term, it could help with our capacity issues.”

The district’s engineer, architect and director of maintenance and operations would need to assess the Heritage site along with other options, including two parcels the district owns, Meeks said.

Meeks said the district has looked at one additional vacant parcel, and the district team would be willing to evaluate more sites that might be available.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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