Steamboat Springs School Board continues discussion on new school | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat Springs School Board continues discussion on new school

Board shows preference for new high school, leaves all options on the table

Teresa Ristow
The Steamboat Springs School District is interested in negotiating the purchase of a 70-acre site owned by Yampa Valley Electric Association for the purpose of building a new high school.
John F. Russell

— Members of the Steamboat Springs School Board are showing preference for an option to build a new high school on property owned by the Yampa Valley Electric Association but aren’t taking any of the five options for school construction off the table just yet.

The board Monday received an update from architect Matt Porta and engineer Jeff Chamberlin on the options for construction under consideration, including the newest “C.2” scenario, which Porta identified as the district’s preferred option.

“What I’m hearing is we all know that C.2 is the answer, we’re just afraid we can’t sell it,” said Kris Hammond, a parent who attended Monday’s meeting.

Hammond’s comment drew nods from board members, who asked Porta and Chamberlin a handful of questions about C.2 and each of the other options under consideration.

The C.2 option includes the construction of a new 198,000-square-foot high school on a 70-acre site for sale off of Downhill Drive on the western edge of Steamboat Springs, as well as renovations at the existing schools to increase the district’s overall student capacity by 880 students, a number that includes new preschool classrooms.

“I really think it’s going to have the most long-term effect for all of our kids at all grade levels,” said board member Joey Andrew.

The option assumes the district would successfully negotiate the purchase of the YVEA site, a process the board moved forward with Monday by voting to allow Superintendent Brad Meeks to begin negotiating a tentative purchasing agreement for the site. A previous board vote allowed Meeks to begin negotiations for the site, but Monday’s vote authorizes him to solidify a contract with a price, all of which would also be subject to later approval by the board.

Other options still on the table are A, a new pre-kindergarten through fifth grade facility potentially built at the district’s Whistler Park site; B, a new pre-kindergarten through eighth grade campus at the district’s Steamboat II site; C, a new high school at the Steamboat II site; or D, purchasing and renovating the Heritage Christian School site and utilizing it along with another proposed option.

Each option includes renovations at all existing school sites.

Projected costs of a bond measure to fund the options range from $74 million for Option A to $102 million for Option C or C.2.

Board member Sherri Sweers said she had concerns about whether the public would be more likely to vote against Option A or against Option C.2 if put on a ballot measure.

Sweers said she feared the public might be more likely to support a short-term solution like the elementary proposed in Option A, versus a long-term solution like Option C.2.

Monday’s meeting was an opportunity for the board to ask questions about the different options, which they will continue to discuss with the architectural and engineering firms at board workshops on Monday, June 22 and Monday, June 29.

Board members said Monday they expect to make a decision on which option to pursue during the school board’s June 29 meeting.

Meeks said Monday that the district needs to notify the county clerk by the end of July of its intention to put something on the ballot for this year, and decide on specific ballot language by August.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow


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