Steamboat School Board addresses needs identified in facilities master plan |

Steamboat School Board addresses needs identified in facilities master plan

Jack Weinstein

— The Steamboat Springs School Board, by a 4-1 vote, approved a bond fund expenditure Monday night of more than $305,000 for new carpet and vinyl tiling at Steamboat Springs Middle School and Strawberry Park Elementary School. It's the first step in addressing more than $1.9 million in maintenance needs identified in the district's facilities master plan, which also was presented Monday to the School Board.

At the beginning of the presentation, Superintendent Shalee Cunningham said the plan would help the district spend bond funds, prioritize maintenance and plan for the future. It was prepared by the district's facilities committee, which was composed of district staff members, a parent and Denny Hill, director of Strategic Resources West, of Castle Rock.

Hill said that in addition to identifying existing maintenance needs at the district's four schools and administration building related to health and safety or programming and functional limitations, the facilities master plan identified future district needs based on projected home construction and population growth in Steamboat.

"The idea of doing all of this master planning and pulling everything together into a comprehensive plan is to be proactive," Hill said. "Good planning, if proactive and comprehensive, should help you save money in the long run."

Even with voters rejecting Steamboat 700, Hill said there are about 5,000 ready-to-build home lots within the district's boundaries. The facilities master plan projected the district would increase in size by about 300 students to a total enrollment of 2,400 by 2015. It indicated that the district's existing schools could accommodate that growth.

However, the facilities master plan indicated that at full build-out, the district potentially could have 4,100 students, creating the need for additional facilities and/or renovations to existing buildings.

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The facilities master plan also evaluated property owned by the district, including the 35 acres west of Steamboat that were intended for a future K-8 school as part of the Steamboat 700 development and 9.2 acres at Whistler Road and Meadow Lane, both of which have been identified as ideal school sites.

The 42 acres the district owns in Clark were identified as unsuitable for a school. The School Board on Monday gave Cunningham the go-ahead to list the property for sale.

Cunningham said the committee's evaluation of the district's facilities would be an ongoing process that the district would revisit annually. She said it would continue to evolve to include input from parent groups, staff members and the community.

By approving new carpet and vinyl tiling for Strawberry Park and the middle school, the district will replace carpet that was installed in 1981 when the schools were built. Cunningham said the carpet is filthy, falling apart and expressed concern that it presented health and safety risks for students.

Board member Denise Connelly voted against the carpet and flooring purchase.

"I really feel that in this time of cutting of personnel and all the budget cutting we've had to do, it would be better to wait a couple years for a project of this magnitude," she said.

Finance Director Dale Mell­or clarified that the money spent to replace the existing carpet would come from the district's bond fund, which is left over from bond issues approved by voters to build Soda Creek Elementary School, renovate Strawberry Park and the middle school, and equip the district's buildings.

Board member Laura An­der­son expressed her desire for the district to consider moving away from carpet in all schools, but she voted to approve the expenditure

In other action, School Board members:

■ Adopted the 2010-11 budget with general fund revenues of $20.3 million.

■ Approved the 2010-11 membership dues of more than $9,700 to the Colorado Association of School Boards.

■ Approved board member Lisa Brown as the School Board's representative on the board of directors for the Northwest Colorado Board of Cooperative Educational Services.