Infrastructure impacts of new Steamboat Springs school considered |

Infrastructure impacts of new Steamboat Springs school considered

The Steamboat Springs School District is interested in negotiating the purchase of a 70-acre site owned by Yampa Valley Electric Association for the purpose of building a new high school.
John F. Russell

— Steamboat Springs’ city staff and some council members expressed support last week for a school site within proximity to the center of town, if the Steamboat Springs School District chooses to build a new high school to address increasing enrollment.

The district’s architecture and engineering team is nearing a decision of what type of school facility it will recommend developing and whether it will be on property within city limits.

City staff briefed the Steamboat Springs City Council on Tuesday about potential infrastructure impacts at sites under consideration, which include the district’s Steamboat II and Whistler Park sites and a then-unidentified option of land on the western edge of city limits, now recognized as the 70-acre Yampa Valley Electric Association property.

“The new option … of trying to locate a new high school closer to downtown seems like my favorite,” said council member Tony Connell, who noted that a location closer to town than Steamboat II would provide walkability and proximity to existing transportation.

The district is considering building a new 198,000-square-foot high school or a new 98,000-square-foot pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade school either on the district’s 35-acre site near the Steamboat II subdivision or now potentially on the YVEA site the school board authorized the district Wednesday to begin negotiating for.

Another option is a new 90,000-square-foot pre-kindergarten through fifth grade campus, which could be built within city limits on the district’s Whistler Park site.

What to build and where to build it are still up for discussion by district administration and the community.

City staff said the district’s Steamboat II site is outside existing or planned city transit services and might require the addition of a traffic signal at the intersection of U.S. Highway 40 and Routt County Road 42 and could require water treatment plant and collection system upgrades.

A school built at the YVEA site would offer relief from many of the infrastructure concerns related to the Steamboat II site, according to district-hired engineer Jeff Chamberlin, of RLH Engineering.

“Because it’s within city limits, it makes it easier on the sewer in terms of expansion, the traffic lights at Elk River Road allow for access and there’s water already into the site,” Chamberlin said. “There are significant advantages with the Yampa Valley [Electric Association] site for development and transportation.”

The city brief also noted that a larger site could allow partnerships for athletic fields with the city Parks Department and would offer closer proximity to city resources.

The discussion on school and site options continues with a meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday, tentatively scheduled at Steamboat Springs High School.

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

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