School board considers future of district properties | SteamboatToday.com

School board considers future of district properties

Teresa Ristow

The Steamboat Springs School District administration offices at 325 Seventh St.

— Steamboat Springs Board of Education members said Monday they are willing to entertain the sale of district-owned parcels on Whistler Road and near Steamboat II or the sale of the district office site.

The board held a discussion on each of those sites and their current option to purchase the 70-acre Overlook site but didn't take any formal votes.

The board first heard some details about each of the properties from Pascal Ginesta, district director of maintenance, operations and transportation.

In regards to the 9.2-acre Whistler Road property, Ginesta said the site was slightly smaller than ideal for a future elementary school and that constructing a second access point for the school, likely between the site and U.S. Highway 40, could be costly and complicated.

"Access is the biggest issue," Ginesta said.

He said a commercial realtor estimated the property would be worth $650,000 to $800,000, but the district has not received a formal appraisal.

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The district's 35-acre Lee Trust property near the Steamboat II subdivision also comes with development challenges, as it is not currently connected to water, sewer or power and an access point off of U.S. Highway 40 would be difficult, Ginesta said.

The property was estimated to be worth $800,000 to $875,000.

The district office building on Seventh Street was appraised around 2010 for around $4 million, Superintendent Brad Meeks said. Capital improvements on the building could cost $2 million or more in deferred maintenance if the district were to renovate it.

Board member Roger Good said he would entertain the sale of any or all three of the properties, while member Joey Andrew said he would consider the sale of Whistler and the district office but not the Lee Trust property, which he thinks might be beneficial to the district as a future school site decades from now.

"I don't want to paint us into a corner 50 years from now," Andrew said.

Board President Margie Huron said she felt the board was in agreement that they would consider the sale of any of the properties if it were something the Steering Committee wanted the district to pursue.

"I'm certainly willing to look at any options for selling any properties to maximize our resources," Huron said.

The board also discussed whether it was interested in extending the option to purchase the Overlook site and listened to several scenarios for how the property could be financed if the district wanted to move forward with the purchase of the site.

The current option on the property, which is owned by Yampa Valley Electric Association, ends April 8.

The financial scenarios included using current fund balance money to make the purchase, using certificates of participation to make the purchase or use a combination of COP and district funds or sign a promissory note with a 30-year term.

Those options were all characterized as drastically reducing the district's fiscal health and of concern to district administration, according to finance director Mark Rydberg.

The district could also let the option expire or offer to increase the amount of earnest money offered to YVEA in hopes they would hold onto the property for the district until a future bond passed.

No decisions were made about the Overlook site, but it will be discussed again during a board workshop at 4:30 p.m. March 21.

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