Dave Ulrich: Several reasons behind relocating preschool, administrative supports in Moffat County School District
May 7, 2018
As part of my ongoing effort to communicate facts surrounding the transition of East Elementary School, I want the community to know that, Thursday, April 26, the Moffat County School District Board of Education voted unanimously to have the early childhood classes and administrative supports move from the Yampa Avenue Building to the site of East's building.
There are four specific reasons for this decision. First, as noted in the Blythe Group recommendation, the Yampa Avenue Building is the most marketable building in the district. There is a much greater likelihood that the district can find a public or private party to repurpose the building. The BOE is committed to exploring every opportunity for the district to work with our local government entities to keep the Yampa Admin Building in the public domain. I've had several people share creative ideas to make this happen.
Second, and also included in the Blythe Group recommendation: "The central preschool location and Education Center (Yampa Avenue Building) may need to absorb additional preschool spaces and this action would push that location to a higher utilization as preschool sections consume more ground floor area and office uses are located upstairs. Alternatively, the relocation of the Education Center to the repurposed East Elementary facility would easily facilitate the needed additional preschool spaces. Since the existing Education Center building is more marketable than East Elementary, this potential should be explored."
Based on that recommendation, we have been exploring this possibility since January. We know that at least five preschool classes will need to be housed at the East site.
Third, occupying the East site will provide an opportunity for our preschool program to grow. In our current model, the district is unable to accommodate all the requests of families with preschool-aged students. We have many families who would like to access a full-day program. Given our current capacity, we can only offer some of these students a half day program. The classrooms at East can be modified to meet the needs of preschool students for a minimal cost to the district.
Finally, keeping the East building will provide space if MCSD grows in the future. Moffat County has had several periods of growth throughout the past 50 years. While no signs point to this eventuality, a significant change in the energy sector or other industry could bring new families to our area. If this occurs, the district would be able to accommodate the growth quickly and effectively.
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As we move through the 2018-19 budget process, we are realizing the operational savings of closing a building. Because of this tough choice, we are going to be able to provide new and better opportunities for our students and continue to live our mission of educating and inspiring students to thrive in an environment of change.
Dave Ulrich is superintendent of the Moffat County School District.