Steamboat middle school construction down to the wire with students returning Aug. 21
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — With three weeks until students go back to school, construction sites across Steamboat Springs School District are operating seven days a week, 12 hours a day.
Things are going well, Steamboat Superintendent Brad Meeks said, though he continues to evaluate progress on a weekly basis and make adjustments and contingency plans in case things aren’t finished in time.
The next 20 days will be key.
At Steamboat Springs Middle School, crews are busy with the addition of four classrooms, the relocation of the counseling offices and the modernization of the heating and cooling system. The state inspection is scheduled for the week of Aug. 13. That’s when they will know whether they’ll get a temporary certificate of occupancy, Meeks said.
Even if a room or two isn’t quite ready, “we can work with it,” he said.
As the Gardner Field project waits on bleachers and the press box, some of the first home games have been pushed back, Meeks said. The new turf is in, preparations are in place for the new track, and Meeks is working with coaches to make sure athletes have practice space as construction finishes up.
The roofing projects on five district buildings (Strawberry Park Elementary School, the middle school, Steamboat Springs High School, the bus barn and the district office) are coming along well, Meeks said, and those still underway should be finished in the next week or two.
At this time, Meeks said he does not anticipate any change to the scheduled Aug. 21 start of the school year.
The projects are being funded by the voter-approved $12.9 million bond issue to address capital projects across the district and a $1 million ongoing capital construction mill levy. The district also received a $537,491 BEST grant, defraying the estimated $2.9 million cost of replacing the roofs.
At the middle school, the addition of four classrooms is an effort to accommodate a projected 640 students in a building that was built to hold about 550 or 570. The addition doesn’t increase the size of other areas of the building, Meeks said, so the hallways, cafeterias and bathrooms remain the same.
This week, as the office staff returns to the schools, enrollment data will be updated and exact numbers determined. Meeks said they are projecting a district-wide increase of about 44 students from last year’s Oct. 1 count of 2,623. The increases can be hard to determine, though, and prior to the 2017-18 school year, they estimated an increase of 20 students and ended up with an additional 97.
As enrollment increases, options are to increase class sizes or buy more modular buildings, Meeks said.
“We are accommodating as best we can,” he said, but it is an ongoing challenge and the reason the district is working on a long-term facility plan.
To reach Kari Dequine Harden, call 970-871-4205, email kharden@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @kariharden.
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