Steamboat Springs Soda Creek Elementary School students begin the 2007-08 school year in five weeks, and a flurry of activity is ongoing at the temporary school site to prepare for their arrival.
A new Soda Creek will begin to rise from the ground later this summer, but the temporary school, which has been dubbed "Camp Soda Creek," will encompass more than the 15 mobile classrooms that have been arranged on the field adjacent to the George P. Sauer Human Services Center on Seventh Street.
The Human Services Center, which houses the Steamboat Springs School District's central offices, also is undergoing a number of construction projects to accommodate more than 400 elementary students.
Todd Ficken, the school district's owner's representative for the major school construction project, said students will spend the majority of their time in the mobile classrooms, but day-to-day activities also will be housed in the district office building.
"Students will only be allowed in the newer part of that building due to safety," he said. "But we are going to use the gym as a cafeteria as well as a gym. We'll use an area immediately adjacent to the gym as a nursing area, and we'll also put kindergarteners in the building."
Ficken added the School Board's meeting room will be converted into a library and media center, while another room will be transformed into a computer lab.
"The challenge is just making sure we accommodate everyone," said Ficken, who said construction is almost two weeks ahead of schedule. "We have spent a lot of time trying to find a middle ground and we are trying to do the best we can do with what we are dealt with. I think we've achieved that."
Ficken said no major construction is needed inside the Human Services Center, but he noted painting, installation of partition walls and replacing some carpet must be done.
Superintendent Donna Howell said she is excited to share the building with students and Soda Creek staff.
"All the district staff is staying very positive," she said. "I'm pleased students are so close. They are why we are here and it will be nice to be so close to students learning."
Howell noted she anticipates some challenges working in a building that will be filled to capacity, but she said district officials have been meeting regularly to address any concerns.
"There is bound to be a few bumps in the road that we will have to resolve," she said. "But everybody is keeping a positive attitude that this will be a great experience for students."
Soda Creek Principal Judy Harris, whose office will be in a modular classroom, said she will invite students, parents and the community to the temporary site before the first day of school Aug. 27.
"We haven't been able to move all our materials in, but once we do, I want to show off Camp Soda Creek and to address any concerns," she said. "Everything is coming together and we have every reason to believe the facility will be ready for the children."