$36M in school repairs proposed

An architecture and construction firm recommended $36 million in Moffat County School District improvements to the Board of Education on Thursday.

But Superintendent Pete Bergmann said a decision on whether to go forward with the upgrades, and at what level, is far from being made.

"We've got a lot of good data right now," Bergmann said. "As part of our budget process in February, we're going to start closing the gap on what direction we'll head.

"It's not something we're jumping into now."

The board hired Neenan Archistruction, a Denver-based company, to do walk-through evaluations of each school in the district in August. The company presented its determinations Thursday in its Facility Assessment Report.

The company divided the district's facility needs into four categories: maintenance, compliance Americans with Disabilities Act standards, educational program deficiencies/needs and air conditioning.

Neenan representatives identified Craig Middle School and Moffat County High School as the facilities that need the most attention. The company estimated upgrades and maintenance to the buildings would total about $8 million each.

"Typically, districts don't do everything that's recommended or offered," Neenan architect Michael Daley said.

He said school boards usually pick and choose the improvements they want to make, based on the district's needs and community support.

Assistant Superintendent Joel Sheridan said if the district goes ahead with improvements and asks taxpayers within the district for increased funding, he would want to make sure the board developed a complete 15-year plan so the district would not need to return to voters to ask for more tax dollars.

"We've got to get it right the first time," Sheridan said.

Bergmann reported that if the district asked taxpayers for $36 million over 20 years, the average homeowner in the district, with a home that assesses for about $170,000, would pay about $100 more a year.

But, Bergmann said the district is not ready to ask taxpayers for increased financial support.

"These are going to be critical discussions about what the community can afford and what makes sense," he said.

The district will pay $17,000 for Neenan's assessment if the board decides not to make facility improvements. If the board decides to go ahead with the plan, or any part of the plan, Neenan offers the district its bonding services and completes the work the district requests if the bond passes. If the bond fails, the district owes Neenan nothing.

Board members expressed concern that the Facility Assessment Report did not include a few key factors they are concerned about, namely asbestos abatement, replacing the high school pool and increasing security measures.

The Neenan representatives said those are issues that require a specialist's opinion, which the board intends to elicit.

"I'm just making sure we all know a lot of work still has to be done," board President Jo Ann Baxter said. "I think the security piece could be really important in this community. It's a huge concern."

Michelle Perry can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 204, or mperry@craigdailypress.com.

Neenan Archistruction's proposed upgrades to Moffat County School District facilities:

Moffat County High School -- $8 million

Craig Middle School -- $8 million

Craig Intermediate School -- $4.8 million

Sunset Elementary School -- $4.3 million

East Elementary School -- $5.2 million

Ridgeview Elementary School -- $3.8 million

Maybell Elementary School -- $200,000

Transportation building -- $300,000

Administration and preschool building -- $880,000

Total district facility upgrades -- $36 million

The Moffat County School District Board of Education also:

  • Heard a report on Positive Behavior Supports program from school psychologist Jennifer Langley, Sunset Elementary School Principal Zach Allen and Craig Intermediate School Principal Don Davidson.
  • Heard a presentation from Craig Fire/Rescue Chief Chris Nichols about Craig Rural Fire Protection District's mill levy request on the Nov. 7 ballot. The board also unanimously approved a letter in support of the fire district's request.
  • Heard a presentation from Superintendent Pete Bergmann about the 2006-07 district goals. Bergmann said math has been at the forefront of goals for the last few years. Other goals include: professional learning community, reading achievement, writing achievement, safe schools, communication and input, strategic financial plan, technology, special education, English language learners, gift and talented and the School Accountability Committee.
  • Heard a presentation from board President Jo Ann Baxter about her attendance at the Colorado Association of School Boards delegate assembly. She said the assembly focused on preparing students for life after graduation and giving them a well-rounded experience.
  • Heard a finance committee report from Baxter.
  • Heard a communication committee report from board members Trish Snyder and Andrea Camp.
  • Heard from Bergmann about school security. He said that soon, every staff member will wear a nametag, and visitors will be given buttons to wear while on school property. He said one entrance is open during the day at schools, and students are encouraged to be alert to people they don't know.
  • Heard from Baxter and Bergmann about the Colorado Department of Education audit on Oct. 12. Baxter said the auditor was impressed with district accomplishments.
  • Unanimously approved revisions to the student activity funds management policy. The policy states that all checks are to be signed by the principal or designee. One change in the policy reads that the designee may not be the bookkeeper.
  • Unanimously approved the establishment of petty cash funds for administrators. Purchases must be kept to $50 or less each. The superintendent, or designee, determines the amount of money in the funds.
  • Discussed the out-of-sate travel policy. The board decided to keep the policy as is, as long as students involved in extracurricular activities follow the existing fundraising guidelines.
  • Unanimously approved revisions to the evaluation of evaluators and administrative staff policy. Bergmann said the changes are required under state law.
  • Discussed a three-year calendar for the district. Bergmann presented one calendar with under the current plan and second calendar with four added schooldays -- at the end of year for the first two years, and at the beginning of the year for the third year. Baxter proposed holding Moffat County High School graduation on a Friday, instead of Saturday, in the future.

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