Building still in early stages; district eyes grant

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— The Hayden School Board gave voted Wednesday to move forward with plans to build a permanent vocational building near Hayden High School.

Superintendent Mike Luppes and vocational technical teacher Kevin Kleckler provided the board with preliminary floor plans and a timeline for construction during the monthly board meeting.

The new vocational building would be approximately 140 feet by 110 feet, but half of the permanent structure would be an extension of the current building.

The initial step would be to submit a grant proposal to Babson-Carpenter for engineering, design and architectural work. The price tag for planning work is an estimated $25,000, which could come from the capital reserve fund or the general operating budget.

An upgrade in drainage is necessary, Luppes said.

"You have support from the board at this time to move forward," board president Brian Hoza said. "I want to commend you on the effort to keep this moving. It's really important for our kids and our community."

The vocational programs in Hayden are arguably the most popular courses offered for high school students. Nearly 120 of the 150-plus high school students enrolled this year signed up for welding, but the district only has slots for approximately 40 students.

In addition, Colorado North-

western Community College has expressed interest in working with the district to further utilize Hayden's vocational building.

"They are fully supportive of this project," Luppes said. "We just need more definition of what that means. Down the road, once we are starting with classes, I would think maybe equipment or instructor support."

Luppes and Kleckler provided a timeline with the hope that the planning can be finished before Feb. 24, the deadline to submit a proposal for an Energy Impact Grant to the county. Luppes said he spoke with Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak earlier this week about Hayden's likely grant proposal.

"She said it should be right up the board's line as well as the equipment inside," Luppes said.

That was welcome news to Luppes and Kleckler. The hope is that the district could secure $350,000 in Energy Impact Grant funds. The district could potentially match with $140,000. Additional money from other local contributors, including area businesses, could also be raised.

"One of the big things for that is letters of support," Luppes said of the Energy Impact proposal. "I think all the industries around us would be very, very supportive. This is necessary for the livelihood of the valley."

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