Board unanimously approves school facility plan, swim teams

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— The Steamboat Springs School Board unanimously voted Monday night to approve the implementation of a $2.8 million project on a 25-year plan aimed at gradual facility improvements at both elementary schools, the middle school and high school.

The board had been presented with three different options during its Oct. 28 meeting by Navitas representative Koby Kampschroeder and Pascal Ginesta, the district's director of maintenance. The options varied in overall project price and differed slightly in the scope of facility improvements proposed at the various school campuses.

Ultimately, the board opted for Option B, which includes a gradual lighting overhaul at three of the four schools, the district’s human resource building and the bus barn.

Option B also includes window and door replacements at both the middle school and Strawberry Park Elementary. It also addresses insulation concerns at the high school.

Option C, a $4.5 million project, was strongly considered. It proposed installing an HVAC system in the middle school. Yampa Valley Sustainability Council Executive Director Sarah Jones lobbied for the option, asking the board to consider “a good educational environment” for students along with the costs.

The board talked about revisiting parts of Option C, but the five members weren’t ready to take on expenses that high.

“All of these projects take into account efficiencies in one way or another,” District Finance Director Dale Mellor said. “Options A and B pay for themselves, there’s no doubt about it, if you go 30 or even 25 years.”

By adopting Option B, the district would save more than $182,000 in operation costs in the project's first year, according to Kampschroeder’s and Ginesta’s plan.

The board considered the three options with the ever-growing reality that if enrollment continues to climb as it has, another elementary school would likely have to be built in Steamboat.

Board OKs official Sailors swim team

After several weeks of deliberation, the school board voted unanimously to add a boys and girls swim team, giving Steamboat its 19th Colorado High School Activities Association-sanctioned sport.

During the Oct. 28 school board meeting, Old Town Hot Springs program director Jill Ruppel and Steamboat Springs High School Athletic Director Luke DeWolfe presented the board with a plan that has team costs fully parent-funded in its first year. For the four years after, the district would take on 25 percent more of the team costs until the program is fully district-funded by year five.

Monday night, the board also received a written agreement from Hot Springs Executive Director Patricia Carney that facility costs for the athletes would be waived. The statement said the five-year facility and membership costs would be $12,000 with the money coming from private donors.

Board President Brian Kelly expressed concern over low boys team numbers based on the Hot Springs club team roster.

“We’d be taking on a sport in boys swimming that’s the lowest of any (Steamboat team) in sheer numbers. It’s in single digits,” Kelly said.

Ruppel countered that if a boys team was added, interest would surely rise in coming years.

Along with adding the swim teams, the board agreed to review the teams and program finances after two years.

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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