A board with a plan
Craig Middle School project bond drafted
Craig — The Moffat County School District Board of Education was seeking a target range between $28 million to $31 million when looking at a possible bond to build a new middle school and provide renovations to other district schools.
The board succeeded in drafting and approving a plan totaling in the bottom half of that range at a special meeting Tuesday night, unanimously voting to approve a $29.5 million bond to go before voters in the Nov. 6 general election.
The construction plan calls for a new Craig Middle School building, which would be constructed upon the old building. The gym, auditorium and metal works shop at the current middle school would remain, but it would get new roofs in addition to the other renovations.
All campuses would be renovated to varying degrees with new heating, ventilation, lighting and security measures. Craig Intermediate School would become a new elementary campus.
Neenan Archistruction, the company contracted to engineer and build the school district projects, originally planned to build the middle school over the current baseball diamond.
The new plan is budgeted to cost $2.8 million less than the original.
“In this scenario, we get a full auditorium, not even included in the higher price tag,” Superintendent Pete Bergman said. “We end up with a better building at a lesser cost. If you compare apples to apples, you actually get more of a building.”
Also in the construction budget was $1 million for the district to redo the Moffat High School parking lot.
“In my opinion, there has been an outcry in the community,” said Mark Rydberg, MCSD director of finance. “People say we spend all this money and not fix what’s most obviously wrong to them.”
For the high school parking lot, fire safety systems, lighting and roofing, the school district plans to take competitive bids outside of Neenan Archistruction.
The bond budget has a $1.5 million contingency amount, which is more than adequate, Bergman and Rydberg told the board.
Two issues with the middle school construction project remained, however.
Traffic problems on Ninth Street have long caused safety hazards for students, Assistant Superintendent Joel Sheridan said.
Tentative plans are for the middle school’s main entrance to move to the west side of the building, on Yampa Avenue. A driveway would run along the west side of the building, connecting with a large parking lot north of campus.
Buses would line on Ninth Street, theoretically eliminating children crossing the street there.
Board and audience members also voiced concern about student displacement during construction. Bergman and Sheridan suggested having sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders at the intermediate school for one year.
The district would lease modular classrooms to have all three grades there.
“I think that’s a very crucial time for kids, and I worry that it would be a disturbance to them,” Board Member Trish Snyder said.
The alternative is to house eighth-graders in part of the high school.
Other board members, Bergman and Sheridan believed modulars would not be a problem for students.
“There’s not a modular that looks worse to me than Room 206 (at the middle school),” Sheridan said. “No modular would be smaller (than that room).”
The School District has used modulars before at the elementary schools in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Board Member Sandi Johns said.
Sheridan thought the need for improvement outweighed temporary setbacks.
“There’s no such thing as moving forward without a little displacement,” he said.
Board of Education President Jo Ann Baxter commented after the bond question passed.
“I am really proud of this board,” Baxter said. “We have made a huge commitment to our future and our students.”
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