Steamboat school district brings three new school options to public

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Steamboat Springs Board of Education unanimously agreed to bring a third option back to the table as they move forward with an expansion proposal to bring before voters in the fall.

A month earlier, they had narrowed four scenarios to two. The four scenarios were presented as a result of a yearlong effort by the Advisory Committee.

Millie Flanigan, a parent, addressed the board at the April 2 meeting.

“I ask you not underestimate that the community has the ability to really look at each of these analytically moving forward,” Flanigan said, “and that people will take a more vested interest as we move forward, which will garner more community support.”

Flanigan said she was caught by surprise at the news the board had already settled on just two options. She said she had been to a couple meetings but admittedly, was not aware of exactly where they were in the process because she assumed the big decisions were still further down the road.

More options and a more engaged community, Flanigan said, will, “in the end, get us to a better decision we feel good about and more importantly, pass something we feel good about.”

“We’ve heard that people would like more choice,” said board member Margaret Huron.

Board member Michelle Dover acknowledged they may have narrowed down to two options too quickly but also recognized they had a job to do in making some of the difficult final decisions.

Board member Kelly Latterman expressed a preference with moving forward with just two options and concern that three options would require too much work and time in terms of crafting detailed proposals. She also suggested it might be too much information and confusing to put to the public.

But Latterman, along with all the other board members, ultimately said they supported going forward with three options.

They eliminated option C, two new elementary schools, which was described as very popular but too expensive. They brought back option D, building one new elementary school.

The two options which were on the table prior to the April 2 reconsideration, A (a new pre-K through eighth grade school) and B, (a new middle school) were not the top two choices from the Advisory Committee nor the Community Committee for Education. Both groups had spent months on research and soliciting community feedback.  

A phone survey focused on the initial two options had already been conducted, Superintendent Brad Meeks said, but it was agreed the survey still provided valuable information. And he said he understood the community’s desire for the option of building a new elementary school.

Board President Joey Andrew noted that in some ways, D could be seen as the first phase of C. Andrew also noted that, “At some point, we will have bite the bullet and narrow down.”

The board plans to go to voters with a bond in November to pay for the new construction as well as a list of projects at each one of the existing schools deemed as high priority. Some of those include updating science and art facilities, adding STEM and CTE (career and technical education) programming, ensuring appropriately sized and dedicated cafeteria spaces, adding common space and building additional gyms and sports practice facilities.

And in general, add more space as all schools are either over or nearing capacity. The new facility would be intended to best relieve the current space issues, as well as plan for future growth.

The board talked about setting a deadline for making decisions on the plan for a new school, upgrades at existing school and the location of the new school.

In coming weeks, there will be six community meetings focused on those decisions, in addition to the regular board meetings and workshops, all of which are open to the public.

The board plans to discuss and incorporate a new demographics report into their decision-making, which is anticipated for completion by April 15. 

If you go

If you go

The Steamboat Springs School District has scheduled the following  community meetings to discuss potential bond packages. More information will be forthcoming.

Whistler Neighbors meeting: 6:30 p.m. April 17 at Rex’s American Grill & Bar, 3190 S Lincoln Ave.

Board of Education community forum: 6:30 p.m. April 29 at Soda Creek Elementary School, 220 Park Ave.

District-wide parent, grandparent, and volunteer meetings: 11: 30 a.m. May 2 at Bud Werner Memorial Library, 1289 Lincoln Ave.

Steamboat II Neighbors meeting: 6:30 p.m. May 2 at Anchor Way Church, 40650 Anchor Way

Board of Education community forum: 8:30 a.m. May 6 at Bud Werner Memorial Library

Board of Education community forum: 9 a.m. May 11 at Soda Creek Elementary School

To reach Kari Dequine Harden, call 970-871-4205, email or follow her on Twitter @kariharden.

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