School district to pursue partners for gym

In other action

The board unanimously approved contracts for construction at Craig Intermediate School (CIS) and Sunset Elementary School as part of the bond. Joel Sheridan, district construction liaison, showed the floor plans for the schools. The construction at CIS is over budget by about $90,000 because of costs to convert classrooms to be compatible for younger students. That includes sinks and bathrooms for younger students.

District finance director Mark Rydberg said that revenues would be less than budgeted because 27 fewer students than expected enrolled in the district. He said the Colorado Department of Education was hoping to cut $125 million from the budget. Included in the cut would be the additional $19 per student added last year. The board unanimously approved an amended 2008-09 budget with adjusted levels of revenue.

The board unanimously approved the school of choice lottery process presented by Superintendent Pete Bergmann. The lottery is designed to offer a fair chance for any students or parents of students who will be moved from their previous school next year. The board agreed that there may need to be some adjustments made for exceptions that come up in the process of the lottery, but it would wait for those to come up in the future to look into the matter.

The board unanimously approved plans to increase art for each elementary class from 50 minutes every two weeks to 50 minutes every week.

The community has a need for more gym space, and the Moffat County School District wants to help. But the district can't do it alone, Superintendent Pete Bergmann and district construction liaison Joel Sheridan said at the Moffat County School District Board of Education meeting Thursday.

The board voted to allow Bergmann and other administrators to go out to the community to ask for some partnerships to meet the need.

"This is a now or never opportunity," Bergmann said.

The $29.5 million bond allows for a small auxiliary gym at Craig Middle School that Bergmann called "adequate but not ideal."

Sheridan presented a plan to expand the plans for the current 45-foot by 45-foot space to a gym similar in size and shape to the one at Sunset Elementary. The gym would be approximately 75 feet by 44 feet.

"We're already going halfway there," Sheridan said about the current plans.

Money designated for the original space is $150,000. The estimate for a larger gym is $400,000 more or $50,000 less, Sheridan said. Bergmann suggested that $100,000 awarded the district through a Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) grant be allocated to an expansion of the gym.

The district applied for $500,000 from DOLA with hopes to use the money for updates to auditoriums as well as the gym expansion.

"We can piece-meal the improvements to the auditoriums over time," Bergmann said. "The gym doesn't allow for that."

Even with the DOLA funding, $150,000 still is needed for the gym.

"What is important for the public to know is that a gym to meet our needs and their needs was in our original plans, but we cut it out" of the bond to reduce the final amount, Sheridan said. "We are trying to leverage our money the best we can in this effort."

Bergmann mentioned that possible partners in the funding could be the City of Craig, Moffat County, Colorado Northwestern Community College, local businesses and corporations.

Board member Sandie Johns said she was hesitant to go to small businesses and door to door because, "we've really already done that with the bond," she said.

Another source of funding could come from money reserved for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) improvements to the high school. District finance director Mark Rydberg said that the Colorado Department of Education could provide some funding for the HVAC upgrades and it would free up money. The hitch in that plan is that money wouldn't be available until August from the Colorado Department of Education and a decision needs to be made about the gym in the spring.

Bergmann said he would report on the partnership efforts in an upcoming board meeting.

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