Moffat County School District tackles priority capital projects with available resources
Moffat County School District continues to move forward with needed infrastructure upgrades by utilizing available resources and focusing on projects that will have the biggest effects.
Completed by TreanorHL in partnership with the school district, a 2020 facilities master plan identified needed building improvements at Moffat County’s schools, which vary in age and condition.
The plan observed that while the district has a diligent maintenance department, the high use and age of some of the buildings are driving the need for mechanical and infrastructure upgrades. Some of the necessary repairs include replacement of roofing, asphalt, exterior and interior paint, carpet, flooring, and bleachers.
In 2021, the district proposed a ballot measure to fund the infrastructure upgrades, as well as leverage matching funds from the Building Excellent Schools Today, or BEST, grant. Moffat County voters denied the tax measure, and the district did not receive the grant money.
Without bond funding, district officials have been working to address the capital improvements using smaller funding sources and prioritizing the projects based on which upgrades will have the biggest impact.
According to John Wall, finance director for the district, Moffat County schools can apply for BEST funds annually, and every grant request requires a 50% match from the district.
Two smaller capital projects — replacement of the doors at Sandrock Elementary and the heating controls at Moffat County High School — were completed this year using BEST funding. According to Wall, the BEST grant is a highly competitive process, and it’s not guaranteed that every request will receive funding.
The heating controls were the second to last grant chosen for funding. Wall said the reason the district chose to propose the project this year is because heating is one of the biggest complaints from teachers, students and staff at the high school.
School officials have also addressed other projects that were identified in the 2020 infrastructure plan, including replacing the windows at Ridgeview Elementary School, which was a priority because it’s highly visible to the community.
The district established a capital committee composed of the superintendent, board members and facilities staff to identify which projects the districts will address next. Wall said that nothing has changed from the 2020 master plan, except for the project costs, and the district may not do everything in the plan.
For example, the high school track needed to be replaced, but the district was able to complete the project by resurfacing the track rather than doing a full replacement. According to Wall, the resurfacing will add 10 years to the life of the track, while a replacement would be expected to last for 40 years. However, the priority was to repair the track and be able to continue to host track meets in Craig, which is possible with the resurfaced track.
Wall said that the district won’t be able to complete all of the projects on the master plan with the funding that’s available, and eventually the district may need to go back to the voters with another bond initiative.
In the meantime, the district has been able to address some projects using funding from community fundraising and sponsorships from local businesses. New scoreboards for football and baseball have been installed, and there is a scoreboard for soccer waiting to be installed.
For now, the district plans to strategically address the master plan capital projects by which ones will have the greatest impact by leveraging what resources are available now, and utilizing support from within the community.
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