Moffat County School Board selects firm to help close a school in 2018 | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County School Board selects firm to help close a school in 2018

The Moffat County School Board of Education meet at Colorado Northwestern Community College for a workshop and meeting on July 5 and selected The Blythe Group to act as consultants in the process of closing an elementary school.

The firm selected to help the school district through the process of closing one of four elementary schools also helped build the college in Craig.

Earlier this month, the Moffat County School Board of Education considered proposals from Western Slope and Front Range based firms for the job of helping the district through the school closure process.

The board voted unanimously to allow Superintendent of Schools Dave Ulrich to enter into an agreement with The Blythe Group of Grand Junction not to exceed $92,000.

"They are a Western Slope company, and so it will minimize additional costs relative to travel. And they function in districts of our size for the most part," said Board President Darrell Camilletti.

The board set aside $100,000 for the service in their 2017-18 Budget passed in June.

Bids from the firms were close, but Camilletti said that the board came away impressed that the The Blythe Groups included options for reducing services if they end up not being needed.

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"They were dialed into what we asked for," Camilletti said.

According to The Blythe Group website, it has completed "seven projects on CNCC's Craig campus, including classroom buildings (academic and technical); infrastructure (site work, roads, walks and utilities); residence hall planning and utility buildings."

"They have a long history of service to school districts on the western slope and a focus on their experience of closing or repurposing schools," Ulrich said.

The firm works with a demographer that has experience closing schools, Ulrich said.

The closure of an elementary school is meant to address declining enrollment and provide cost savings estimated at about $750,000 a year.

"Making this tough choice now will allow us to recapture valuable operating funds," Ulrich said.

Separate from the operating budget, roughly $17 million is needed for deferred maintenance, to replace aging equipment, to replace the old bus fleet and a long list of capitol needs.

The school would not be closed until the fall of 2018, and securing the contract is the first step in a consultation process that could take 16 months.

"For us to conduct this process correctly, it will take at least eight months to identify which facility would be the most appropriate for closure and another eight months to ensure the proper steps are followed to realize the greatest amount of operational savings," Ulrich said. "The district will work hard to ensure the community is kept up to date on the progress of the work."

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education