700 reaches deal with school district

Developers say they will split cost of $30M schools project



Danny Mulcahy of DM Hollo Management is a principal owner of Steamboat 700 LLC, which closed the purchase of 540 acres west of Steamboat Springs for $24.6 million.


Shalee Cunningham


Robin Crossan

— The Steamboat Springs School District has reached a tentative agreement with the developers of Steamboat 700, Superintendent Shalee Cunningham said Thursday.

Cunningham said attorneys for the district and developers were drafting the agreement to split the cost of a school that would be needed as a result of the proposed development seeking annexation into western Steamboat Springs. An expansion of Steamboat Springs High School also is included in the cost-sharing agreement.

She said the agreement would be presented to Steamboat Springs School Board members Aug. 24.

Cunningham gave the presentation to the board during the second day of its two-day workshop to plan and set goals for the upcoming school year, which also begins Aug. 24.

The agreement includes a $25 million, 600-student capacity school for kindergarten though eighth grade, and $5 million to expand the high school.

Steamboat 700 Principal and Project Manager Danny Mulcahy said Thursday that a real estate transfer fee would pay for its share of the project with 0.5 percent of all housing sales. He said fees would be dedicated to the project until Steamboat 700's half of the costs to build the new school and expand the high school was met, as long as the scope of the project remains consistent with what it is today.

"It was a long process working with the school district," Mulcahy said. "From the different School Board members I've spoken to, they're excited about it."

After the workshop, School Board President Robin Crossan said the development of Steamboat 700 would add several hundred students to the district.

"The agreement is important for the development and growth of the school district," she said.

Mulcahy said it's difficult to predict when Steamboat 700's obligation to the project would be met. It depends on turnover and home values, he said.

The Steamboat Springs City Council has scheduled first and second readings of the annexation ordinance for Sept. 22 and Oct. 13. Mulcahy said the tentative timeline for the project included building the first of a potential 2,000 homes in 2012. Full build-out is anticipated to take 20 years.

Cunningham said construction of the school depends on when the district would put a general obligation bond on a ballot and decide to build. But, she added, demand for the new school would be immediate with the development of Steamboat 700.

She said the district's plans for the new school would become clearer when the district unveils its facility master plan next year.

Other school news

- The district won't have to take any parents to small claims court to collect unpaid full-day kindergarten tuition, Leah Henderson, the district's office manager, said Thursday.

In June, Cunningham told the School Board that the district was owed about $5,000. That had decreased to $1,500 from four parents when the district indicated last month it would take legal action if it were unable to recoup the tuition.

Of those four parents, two have paid in full and two agreed to payment plans with the district, Henderson said.

Full-day kindergarten was offered for the first time in the district last year after the School Board approved tuition-based full-day kindergarten in March 2008.

- The district also approved all interdistrict transfers, Cunningham said.

The issue was brought before the School Board in June when some parents of children who live outside the school district, but attended its schools last year, were informed there wasn't any room for their children in 2009-10.

The students, in kindergarten and first grade, were allowed to attend district schools after applying through Steamboat's interdistrict policy. It allows students to attend the schools even if they live outside district boundaries, if there's room.

When school ended in May, parents of seven children were told there wasn't room. Debbie Ginesta, secretary to the superintendent, said Thursday that an additional first-grade class at Soda Creek Elementary School and some parents pulling their children out of full-day kindergarten created enough openings for the interdistrict students.

- Cunningham said that with an additional first-grade class at Soda Creek and sixth-grade class at Steamboat Springs Middle School, the district's enrollment was up from a year ago.

Ginesta said that as of Monday, the district's 2009-10 enrollment was 2,086 students, excluding alternative classes, which she estimated at about 20 students. There were 2,080 students as of the Oct. 1, 2008, student count, which is the number that determines how much per-pupil funding the district receives from the state of Colorado.

Ginesta said enrollment likely would increase until Oct. 1, when the official student count is taken for the upcoming school year, as more students enter the district.


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