School board expresses urgency in submitting final master plan
After expressing growing interest last week in the “C.2” option to build a new high school on property owned by the Yampa Valley Electric Association off Downhill Drive, the Steamboat Springs School Board unanimously agreed that they needed to narrow down the list of six options to one.
“It’s getting time to make a recommendation,” School Board President Roger Good said at the school board meeting Monday night. “We have to really sharpen our pencils and pick out what works and what doesn’t.”
With the C.2 option now reduced to an estimated $92 million from last week’s $102 million, the school board expressed a desire to ensure every line of the construction budget was essential and cost efficient before submitting the final master plan by June 29.
“The idea now is for the district to look big picture,” said district-hired architect Matt Porta. “It’s time to look at the needs of the district and how they are or are not solved by these options. Next week, all that will be turned over for the documentation part of the master plan process.”
During Monday night’s meeting, board members predominately asked questions to clarify line-by-line construction costs and raised questions regarding the direct academic benefits to students resulting from each construction option. Almost every board member emphasized the need to plan for population and technology growth five years and 20 years from now.
“It’s important that we change the dialogue to long-range capacity projects and think about if this infrastructure will meet the needs of the future,” Good said. “If we sacrifice long-term academic growth, then we are sacrificing more than just a new building.”
As board members Scott Bideau and Robin Crossan pointed out, these questions and a close study of the construction budget will help the board select the most cost-efficient option that best benefits students, staff and faculty in the long-term but also will facilitate greater public understanding of the board’s decision.
“It’s a $100 million project that needs to be looked at intelligently,” Bideau said. “We are fairly close to moving forward in our selection process, and if we quantify the need for every line on the budget and communicate it to the community, then they’ll approve it.”
“I want to be able to say to the public that we sat down and went line item by line item on the budget,” Crossan said. “We can then say here is where we were, here is what we have already looked at, some naturally fell out, and others we have talked through. If we have to defend every line item, I want a reason why we support that item and its cost.”
One of the alternative line items that the school board is debating involves construction of a high school stadium.
The school board will host its next work session at 5:30 p.m. June 29 in the district office boardroom, 325 Seventh St.
Public input on the options can be emailed to email@example.com.
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