Wednesday, February 4, 2004
Funds to help purchase 4.5 acres of land adjacent to Steamboat Springs School District-owned property in south Steamboat is among a group of five funding requests made by the Education Fund Board's Capital Commission on Wednesday.
The requests marked the beginning of the Fund Board's budgeting cycle, during which each of its three commissions presents first readings of items or projects they believe should be funded by revenue generated from the city's half-cent sales tax for education. The Fund Board will determine in late March which requests from each commission will receive funding.
The top funding priority for the Capital Commission is a $261,000 loan payment to a consortium of five banks. The payment will cut in half the remaining money owed by the Fund Board for the $1.6 million Steamboat Springs Middle School expansion project that was completed earlier this winter. The Fund Board approved the project last year.
The commission's second priority is for $100,000 toward acquisition of 4.5 acres of land off Whistler Road. The school district owns a 9.2-acre parcel of land adjacent to the desired property. The school district's long-range plan includes construction of an elementary school on the Whistler property site.
Adding 4.5 acres to the existing 9.2 acres would bring the total property acreage to a proper level for an elementary school, commission member Tom Ptach said. The Council of Educational Facility Planners International recommends elementary school sites start with a base of 10 acres and include an additional acre for every 100 students at the school. With projected enrollment of 400 students, it's believed the proper acreage for a school on the Whistler site will be 14 acres.
Purchase of the land, which is owned by the Mount Werner Water and Sanitation District, will exceed $100,000, Ptach said. However, the school district likely would sell other parcels of land determined to be of little useable value to the district to fully fund the purchase of the 4.5 acres.
"If we have it, it's an asset to the district," School Board member Pat Gleason said of possible acquisition of that land. "There are no plans to do anything with it."
Even if the district never builds a school on the Whistler site the land will be a valuable asset to the district, Gleason said.
The Capital Commission also requested up to $20,000 in funds to begin work on the Padgett property adjacent to Soda Creek Elementary School. The district acquired the land last year with money previously provided by the Fund Board. The district said the land was needed to improve safety and traffic concerns in front of the elementary school.
The $20,000 would be used to design a plan that would relieve traffic congestion, improve pedestrian and vehicle access and provide adequate parking, according to the commission. An additional commission request for $40,000 would be used to begin work on whatever plan is chosen for the property.
Commission member Dennis Melton said work needs to commence on the property as soon as possible.
"The community expects us to move forward with this," Melton told Fund Board members. "We need to show good-faith efforts in how we're going to incorporate this property into use at Soda Creek."
The commission's final request is $25,000 for engineering work to solve a drainage problem at the entrance of the middle school. Ice buildup and poor drainage often leave some of the school's main doors inoperable and pose safety hazards, commission member Julie Ernst said. A new storm sewer system, sidewalks and entrance doors will be part of the final project.
The Capital Commission's five requests total $446,000. The Fund Board has guaranteed the commission $300,000 of the estimated $1.8 million in half-cent sales tax revenue. A minimum of $200,000 will be available to all three commissions based upon which requests the Fund Board determines to be most deserving of funding.
The Technology Commission will bring forward its requests at a Feb. 18 meeting of the Fund Board.
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