Steamboat Springs Middle School field house’s next phase could come mid-July
Steamboat Springs — After what was considered a very productive — and lengthy — workshop Wednesday, the Steamboat Springs School Board is closer than ever to approving a contract to move forward with building a massive field house at the middle school.
The board gathered with Superintendent Brad Meeks, district attorney Mike Holloran and lead project organizers Kevin Sankey and Mark Lynch this week to closely analyze a document that, if signed, will push the project into the next phase.
During the workshop, which lasted more than four hours, Meeks said the parties involved were able to go through each line of each section of the public-private agreement in order to get on the same page and move toward signing a final document that Sankey and Lynch can present to donors and investors to eventually break ground on the project.
“Mark and Kevin had a list of assumptions that we all worked through,” Meeks said. “I think at the end, for the most part, everyone left that meeting feeling pretty good about where we were at with the agreement.”
Newly elected school board president Roger Good said both the district and Sankey and Lynch presented a series of assumptions that the parties navigated to find a “middle ground.”
“We went through probably a dozen or more high-level assumptions on both parties and said, when conflicted, ‘What is the middle ground?’” Good said. “How do we turn those assumptions into a legal document?”
At the school board’s June 16 meeting, Lynch said that legal document is the key to convincing donors, investors and contractors to support the project.
The next step, Meeks said, is for both parties to have that finalized document in hand, ready to sign. Meeks said Holloran will take the changes and revisions made to the agreement during Wednesday’s workshop and produce a final draft for the district and board to review, which could come as soon as the end of next week.
The school board is scheduled to interview candidates for its recent board vacancy July 17. At that meeting, Meeks said the board will decide whether or not to sign the field house agreement.
The agreement document was available on the school board’s website prior to the workshop, and it presented an over-arching plan behind the expansive project, including details on such things as building-use rights, facility management and the finances needed by the district to break ground on the project.
The field house would be a community facility, according to the agreement, described as an athletic center open to teams, clubs and paying members during non-district hours.
One of the key highlights from Wednesday’s workshop, Meeks said, was an agreement between the district and Sankey and Lynch to have 105 percent of the project’s estimated budget deposited into an account before construction bids can even be accepted, should the agreement be signed July 17.
“We discussed they would have until June 1, 2015, — no later than — to raise the money,” Meeks said. “We have to have the base amount and the contingency amount to allow for change orders and things like that for construction.”
The agreement also now states the company seeking bids from contractors must follow Steamboat Springs School District bid policies and practices.
Creating a transparent process moving forward was another significant note taken from the workshop, according to both Meeks and Good. Good said since the board first heard about the field house project in October — albeit with an almost completely different board in place then — details haven’t been as transparent as necessary.
Part of the agreement that may be signed in three weeks states that a management committee, comprised of three representatives from the company’s side and three from the district’s side, will be formed, and any meetings that may take place between the group should the project become a reality will be open to the public, and advertised, likely through the district website.
“That was suggested and quickly agreed to by everybody,” Meeks said.
The July 17 meeting is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m.
The district also is currently accepting applications for its empty board seat, a position that will run until November 2015. Applicants must submit an affidavit of appointment and a letter of interest, including a short biographical statement, to the district office by noon July 14.
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STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — There is a chill in the air, and snow covers the ground outside a farmhouse west of Hayden as Noah Price and Sydney Ellbogen talk about the operations of Mountain Bluebird Farm.