Community: Schools should be welcoming, safe, efficient

District seeks input at sessions today, Friday

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Moffat County's schools need to be safe, welcoming and economically efficient.

That was the consensus of about 25 community members who attended Moffat County School District's conditions of satisfaction meeting Wednesday evening to hear about the district's proposed $28 million bond issue for facility upgrades.

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"We want to make sure people understand the need, the cost and the vision of what we're doing," Superintendent Pete Bergmann said.

The Board of Education approved Neenan Archistruction to move forward with a plan 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, Ridge--view and Sunset elementary schools and Craig Intermediate School into preschool to fifth-grade buildings.

Neenan officials asked those present to "dream a little bit" and present them with what they'd like to see in their schools.

Ideas such as widening the walls and including common areas for the children topped the list. Security measures, including cameras and controlled entryways, were also a big concern.

The group asked architects to make decisions that make sense for student use, such as grouping teams at the middle school and cuting down maintenance costs.

Community members present also stressed proper ventilation systems for facilities to make the learning environment comfortable for students and including plenty of small- and large-group meeting space.

The proposed $28 million bond issue would cost a homeowner of a property assessed at $150,000 an additional $55 a year, or about $4.50 a month. Commercial properties would be taxed 3.6 times that amount.

Neenan will present the School Board with a plan of what is included and the cost to the district at the board's July 26 meeting. The board will then decide whether to include additional upgrades or to cut some of the improvements, finalizing the district's plan.

To reach that plan, Neenan is asking for additional community input. The company hosts design work sessions today and Friday. Today's focus is on the new middle school, and Friday focuses on upgrades to the other six buildings.

Archistructor David Shige--kane of Neenan said he hopes to hear many more comments on the facility construction and upgrades.

"The more ideas I have, the better solutions we get," he said.

In the meantime, the district is also working to establish a campaign committee to work on getting the bond issue passed.

Community member Kevin Peck said that committee will have a challenge in a community that historically does not pass tax issues on the first go-round.

"It's a big hill to climb," Peck said. "We're going to need to get a lot of people on board to get this passed the first time."

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

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

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