Our view: Worth the wait | SteamboatToday.com

Our view: Worth the wait

At issue:

CC4E has come up with four options that it believes could solve Steamboat School District’s building needs for the foreseeable future.

Our view:

The information compiled by the volunteer group is impressive and deserves careful consideration by the community and the school board.

The Community Committee for Education — CC4E — made a formal presentation to the Steamboat Pilot & Today Editorial Board last week outlining the four options the advisory group has determined offer the best options for Steamboat Springs School District’s future facilities improvement needs.

At issue:

CC4E has come up with four options that it believes could solve Steamboat School District’s building needs for the foreseeable future.

The information shared with us was well researched and complete, and we were impressed with the group’s work. Though we’re not ready to choose one option over the others, we are prepared to endorse the efforts of a committee of volunteers who have been working for a year to develop a plan for the district’s future and hopefully provide the school board with a viable option it can put before voters in November.

At times over the past year, we’ve been critical of CC4E. We were concerned the group was not moving fast enough and was getting bogged down with issues outside the group’s main purpose of advising the district on how it could best meet its facility needs moving forward.

But now that we’ve seen the results of their year-long effort, we admit we may have been a little impatient.

In particular, we are impressed with the information compiled by the facilities committee, headed up by Kevin Sankey, and by the presentation they have put together and are currently sharing with stakeholder groups in the district.

The subcommittee has looked at expanding current facilities, building new facilities and reconfiguring grades at various campuses in each of the four options. A cost estimate has been attached to each option and those estimates range from $41 million to $64 million. The district is currently estimating the operational mill levy that would be required to pursue each option.

Since narrowing the building options down to four, the facilities committee has conducted 60 presentations and reached out to 24 different groups. Based on the information that was shared with us, it is evident that CC4E listened to community input and has come up with several solutions, or pathways as they are being called, which have a chance of gaining voter support and helping the district meet the needs of its growing student population.

The group has tackled the issues of overcrowding, building maintenance, demographic projections and building capacity challenges, and all the information they have gathered, including a video of their facilities presentation, is available on the group’s very comprehensive website.

Currently, CC4E members are out making presentations to as many different groups as possible in advance of submitting a formal recommendation to the school board on May 8 about the direction CC4E believes the school district should take in November.

We appreciate that all of this work and research was completed by a group of volunteers, who have demonstrated tremendous dedication to the task laid before them.

Now, we think it’s time for the community to do some work by investing some time to educate themselves on the four options CC4E has identified as pathways that could solve the district’s capacity needs, and ultimately, improve the educational environment for all students. It’s the public’s responsibility to review and analyze the options in advance of a potential bond issue election in November.

You can go online to cc4e.org and read about the committee’s work and the four options it is currently considering, or you can attend one of the community presentations the group will be giving over the next few weeks. One of those presentations will take place from noon to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 3 at the Steamboat Pilot & Today as part of the newspaper’s monthly Coffee and a Newspaper event. Mark your calendar now and plan to attend.

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