School District gears up for 2nd round of renovations


Moffat County School District accredits schools

At its monthly meeting Thursday, the Moffat County School Board voted to accredit all district schools. The process was different this year, Superintendent Pete Bergmann said, adding that the Colorado Department of Education is reworking its school accreditation method.

"As a result of that, CDE is not (giving) as formal an evaluation of our school district as they have in the past," he said.

He recommended the district temporarily suspend components of its school accreditation process until the Education Department has solidified its procedures.

Still, the district is required by state law to accredit its schools annually. Bergmann said he saw no reason for not accrediting any district schools this year.

Moffat County School District administrators are preparing to implement the second phase of their district-wide building upgrade project.

This summer, crews are scheduled to convert Craig Intermediate School into a fourth elementary school and renovate Sunset Elementary School.

At the Moffat County School Board's work session Thursday, District Construction Liaison Joel Sheridan showed the most recent floor plans for both schools. He said he expects completed plans to be ready for board review by next month.

Major renovations at Sunset Elementary include upgrading the school's heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. Projects at CIS will turn the fifth- and sixth-grade building into a three-track school for preschool through fifth-grade students.

In planning changes to the two facilities, district officials have had to weigh renovations against the cost they could incur.

At CIS, for example, administrators decided against removing the gym locker room, a feature uncommon to elementary schools. They considered turning the space into an art classroom, but they decided against it when they considered the cost.

"It's a nice space, but it's too expensive to fix up," Sheridan said, adding that the school wasn't "fighting for space."

The cost of converting the locker room into a classroom is estimated to cost as much as $80,000, with $20,000 paying for demolition.

Administrators also decided against removing unneeded doors at Sunset Elementary School for similar reasons.

Apart from the main entrance, the school has several doors that lead to the outside. In Sheridan's estimation, the fewer doors through which unscreened visitors could enter the school, the more secure students and teachers will be.

But to save costs, the district plans to reconfigure the doors so that they lock behind teachers, students or visitors who exit them. Only teachers with a key could enter through these doors from the outside.

Retaining the entrances could have an added benefit.

"It's always good to have extra ways to get out," District Facilities Director Mike Taylor said.

Board Member Jo Ann Baxter asked whether the school would include a system that would alert administrators when a door is opened.

"We'll eventually get there, but I'm not sure when," Sheridan said. "That's a cost factor."

Still, school administrators would have the ability to determine at what times of the day school doors would be locked.

In his estimation, renovating CIS poses numerous challenges, some of which administrators are still trying to work through.

"We'll get there, eventually," Sheridan told board members. "I know you have a lot of questions. : We have those same questions, and we have about half of them answered."

Heating, renovation could be postponed

Fixing Moffat County High School's heating and ventilation system may have to wait until the district finds a contractor to do the work and money to pay for it.

Originally, the system was scheduled for an upgrade in summer 2009.

However, district administrators are holding out for a company that can create a solution they think can fix the system.

"Looking (at) and talking to some of the subcontractors and other experts in the area, we didn't feel that there was a solution that we felt comfortable with adopting right now," Sheridan said.

Maintaining a consistent temperature at all three levels of the high school has long been a problem, district officials said.

The Neenan Co., the district's general contractor, has presented the district with a general plan for reworking the system.

But the district plans to charge its owner's representative, Diversified Consulting Solutions, with finding another contractor that could offer what it considers a better solution. Renovating the high school HVAC system is a standalone project. As such, it could be postponed until the summer of 2010.

Fixing the system could cost up to $640,980 more than budgeted. However, the district could seek additional funding from the Colorado Department of Education, the Department of Local Affairs and Gov. Bill Ritter's energy office.


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