District seeks community input on construction

Moffat County School District representatives are inviting community members to voice their opinions this week about proposed facility upgrades and new construction.

"We would really like to have the community involved so they understand what we are proposing and why," Superintendent Pete Bergmann said. "This is an opportunity to hear the plan and give input on refining it."

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The Board of Education approved Neenan Archistruc-tion last week to move forward with a $28 million bond issue to build a new sixth- to eighth-grade middle school and upgrade the district's remaining six buildings.

The plan, which will require voter approval in November, includes converting East, Ridgeview and Sunset elementary schools and Craig Intermediate School into preschool to fifth-grade buildings.

Neenan is now seeking public input on the inclusions and layout of the new middle school, as well as renovations to the current buildings.

The company presents an overview of the proposal from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Craig Middle School auditorium, 915 Yampa Ave. Neenan hosts collaborative design work sessions from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday at the auditorium.

Thursday's session focuses on the new sixth- to eighth-grade building. Friday's focus is on the other buildings. Community members may stop in any time those days to speak with construction representatives and voice their opinions.

Neenan officials will present the community's ideas and the resulting design each day from 4 to 5 p.m.

"They're going to take the whole day designing it before our eyes, so to speak," Bergmann said.

The superintendent said the changes are necessary because district buildings are aging -- Craig Middle School is 60 years old -- and money for large projects is not available in the district's state-allocated funds.

The district's buildings need security cameras and visitor check-in desks, roof repairs and replacements, new lighting and new heating and ventilation systems, Bergmann said. Updated lighting, heating and ventilation will save the district an estimated $100,000 a year in energy costs, he said.

Neenan recommended the district spend $36 million getting all seven facilities up to standard following an evaluation last August. The board cut that number to $22 million, eliminating items that are not necessary for students' learning and safety.

The board also decided to include a new middle school, spending $14 million to build a new one instead of spending $8 million to repair the current building. That brings the total bond request to about $28 million.

"The board ended up gravitating toward the best solution for the future of our facilities going into the 21st century," Bergmann said.

And it was not a decision the board came by easily, he said. The board looked at research and Moffat County data and found the key to maintaining high student achievement is reducing the number of building transitions students experience in their K-12 careers. Reducing transitions, along with creating a sense of community and garnering additional parental support, is why the board chose the pre-K-5 and 6-8 model for the proposed bond.

For more information on the district's proposal or the community input meetings, call the administration office at 824-3268.

Michelle Perry can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or mperry@craigdailypress.com.

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