Sleeping Giant School takes shape west of Steamboat Springs |

Sleeping Giant School takes shape west of Steamboat Springs

The glow of lights from construction crews working at the new Sleeping Giant School and the streaks of light created from cars passing along U.S. Highway 40 brighten the evening hours near the construction site of Steamboat School District's $52.5 million pre-K-8th school west of Steamboat Springs near the Steamboat II subdivision. Construction on the new school began in spring 2019 and the project is moving forward with opening planned for the 2021-22 school year. (Photo by John F. Russell)

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to correct the name of Mark Preuss.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The new Sleeping Giant School is taking shape to the west of downtown Steamboat Springs, with work progressing on track for the school to open Aug. 23, the first day of the new school year.

The new school, which will serve pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade students, is the most significant of several projects the Steamboat Springs School District is working on, but each school had a project recently finished, one that is currently in progress or one that is planned to start soon. All the projects are funded by a bond measure Steamboat Springs voters approved in November 2019.

Crews are almost finished closing in the exterior of Sleeping Giant School with sheathing currently being added to the outside of the building. Much of the interior framing is complete as well.

“Pretty close, just got a few little areas to get buttoned up,” said Mark Preuss, general superintendent on the project for FCI Constructors, which is general contractor for the project.

Preuss said exterior brick work will likely start in February, so crews will need to tent and heat the areas where they are working.

“People driving by can see the form that the building is taking at this point,” said Colleen Kaneda, the district’s owners representative on the projects.

Drywall is one of the next steps inside the building, which is a significant mark in the process as most of the work inside the walls is complete.

“Once we start drywall, it means a lot of the rough-in is complete for a lot of the electrical, mechanical and plumbing,” Kaneda said. “Once we finish drywall, that is when we start building finishes, so painting and carpet.”

Kaneda said an art committee recently selected an artist to make a sculpture for the front entry of the building. Another artist has been picked to do some interior mural work.

“It’s exciting, and it has been going very smoothly,” Kaneda said.

That is good news for Superintendent Brad Meeks, who said district leaders are trying to plan out the start of next school year and securing the Aug. 23 opening date allowed the district to decide on a first day of school.

Meeks said a lot of the behind-the-scenes parts of opening the new school are going well at this point too. The district will soon send out more information to families about newly adopted district boundaries, and internal postings for jobs at the new school have started to go up.

Staff interested in transferring out to Sleeping Giant will be able to apply for these positions, and Meeks said he does not anticipate having to add many more teachers to accommodate the new school.

“Probably not a lot of new teaching staff per se,” Meeks said. “But obviously, we’ll have a new principal, assistant principal, counselor, clerical and custodial staff.”

The district also has projects going at other schools in the district.

Additions to Steamboat Springs Middle School, Strawberry Park Elementary School and Soda Creek Elementary School were all completed in the past two months. Kaneda said she was at Soda Creek earlier this week, and students have moved into the new space with pre-kindergarten on the first floor and elementary students upstairs.

At Strawberry Park, space for art and music classes have been added as well as a renovated kitchen and cafeteria. Kaneda said both the art and music classes have moved into the new space, and renovations on the old space, turning it in to pre-kindergarten rooms, should begin this spring.

A 9,000-square-foot addition to Steamboat Springs High School, which will add six classrooms and renovate others, is in the planning stage, and construction is set to begin this spring, Kaneda said.

There are also renovations planned at Yampa Valley High School, which is located within the district’s administrative offices on Seventh Street. Bathrooms in that building will be renovated, and former pre-kindergarten rooms will be transformed into space for the the Boys & Girls Club of Steamboat Springs. In North Routt, a nearly 6,000-square-foot multipurpose space will be added to the existing school.

“We haven’t been able to have open houses to let people come through and see the new spaces so hopefully sometime this summer … we will be able to do that,” Meeks said.

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