Steamboat Springs School Board votes in support of new high school on YVEA site
Steamboat Springs — The Steamboat Springs School Board voted unanimously Monday in favor of a plan to build a new high school on property owned by Yampa Valley Electric Association on the western edge of Steamboat Springs.
Following a mid-meeting executive session, the board also voted unanimously to allow Superintendent Brad Meeks to sign a contract to purchase the 70-acre YVEA site, provided specific appraisal language is included in the contract and those stipulations are met.
The decisions come after months of meetings regarding the district’s facility master plan, which aims to accommodate increasing enrollment and update district facilities through maintenance and updated educational programming spaces.
Board members wrestled during the meeting with whether to vote in favor of the option or defer a decision to a later meeting before ultimately directing Meeks to move forward with Option C.2.
“We have had 22 meetings and it’s time,” said board member Robin Crossan. “I think the community needs us to make a decision. It’s time.”
An option to build a new high school, first at the district’s Steamboat II area site and now on the YVEA site, has garnered the most community support during informal votes at district meetings over the last several months. Option C.2, a high school on the YVEA site, was also the formally recommended option by architect SlaterPaull/HCM and RLH Engineering during Monday’s meeting.
District administration is now charged with helping form a community committee to continue educating the public about option C.2 in anticipation of a November bond referendum to fund the option.
The board will meet again Aug. 3 to discuss any changes to Option C.2 between now and then and will meet Aug. 10 to potentially craft ballot language and a final amount for a bond measure to fund construction and a mill levy override to fund the operation of the new high school.
There was no discussion of a purchase price for the property during the regular meeting.
Option C.2 includes the construction of a new high school along with upgrades at each existing district site, including millions in deferred maintenance and upgrades that will improve educational programming at all schools.
After building a new high school, the district would move middle school students into the existing Steamboat Springs High School site and spread elementary students into the existing Steamboat Springs Middle School site, which is adjacent to Strawberry Park Elementary.
Students would be split into a pre-kindergarten through second-grade campus and a third- through fifth-grade campus at the two-school site on Amethyst Street.
“We’re really adding a third elementary to the district, and that seems to get lost in the conversation, and it’s obviously an important part of the project,” Meeks said.
District staff plan to upload the full master plan document reviewed during Monday’s meeting to the district website, http://www.sssd.k12.co.us, in the coming days.
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