Schools seek input on facilities |

Schools seek input on facilities

Susan Cunningham

The Steamboat Springs School District has scheduled 13 meetings to gather public input about what to do with its facilities.

The first two meetings will be at 7 p.m. Oct. 25 at Soda Creek Elementary School and Oct. 27 at Strawberry Park Elementary School.

Community members who attend the meetings will be asked four questions:

Should Soda Creek Elementary School be rebuilt at its current site or another site, or are there other perspectives about what to do with the building?

What should be done with the Human Services Center, which is home to administrative offices as well as the historic high school?

How should the school district share its facilities with the community?

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Are there any other issues?

The meetings are scheduled to last an hour and a half, during which officials plan to provide a quick update on the district’s Strategic Plan, as well as a summary of the recent facilities analysis and its recommendations. Most of the meeting will be spent asking participants to divide into small groups to answer the questions and provide feedback.

Using the feedback from the meetings, the School Board will develop a plan for the district’s facilities before returning to the public for additional feedback, Superintendent Donna Howell said.

The district hopes to have a long-term facilities plan completed by February, Howell said.

School Board members discussed the proposed meetings Monday night.

Board member Jeff Troeger asked whether it might be more productive to have several larger community forums.

Board member Pat Gleason said it’s important to go to each group the district wants to get feedback from.

Meetings are planned at each of the district’s schools. Meetings also will be scheduled for the District Accountability Committee, Education Fund Board, Steamboat Springs City Council and Routt County Board of Commissioners. Var–ious community groups and the business community also will be asked to meet with district officials, and there will be a community forum.

Gleason stressed that it was of top importance to get public feedback before making any decisions because larger projects could require support from the community in the form of a bond issue.

Troeger also asked whether it would be more appropriate to hold off on the meetings until after the November elections because voters are being asked to approve some local tax initiatives.

Every year the district is faced with questions about whether to replace windows or roofs of aging buildings, so it’s important to have a long-term plan sooner rather than later, Gleason said.

The cost of what to do with facilities will be considered along the way because decisions about what to do with one building could affect what will happen at other buildings, Howell said. For example, selling all or part of the downtown site for the Human Services Center could fund part of the construction of an elementary school to replace Soda Creek.

— To reach Susan Cunningham, call 871-4203 or e-mail