Steamboat School Board to fully review field house agreement Wednesday

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— As early as Wednesday afternoon, the idea of constructing an indoor field house over Steamboat Springs Middle School’s existing track and field could be one big step closer to becoming a reality on the groundbreaking project.

At last Monday’s regularly scheduled Steamboat Springs School Board meeting — the final meeting of the 2013-14 year — the board resolved to hold a separate workshop dedicated to sifting through a nine-page public-private partnership agreement.

The workshop is scheduled for noon Wednesday at the district office, 325 Seventh St., and will include district Superintendent Brad Meeks and a few administrators, the four current board members, attorney Mike Holloran as well as Kevin Sankey and Mark Lynch, the original field house pushers who pledged in the fall to upstart the project’s fundraising and planning efforts.

On June 16, a few board members expressed concern about the agreement, simply stating their level of comfort was not where it needed to be in order to move toward a signed contract. Lynch, who was on hand for the meeting to defend the agreement, said investors and builders won’t hop on board until a contract is put on their desks.

“We started this process with a different board in the fall,” Meeks said. “We’ve got to make sure the current board who is acting on it understands it and is good with it. I think the first board agreed with the concept and directed the administrators to move ahead and work out the details, which is what we’ve been doing the last several months.”

Wednesday’s workshop is scheduled for noon to 4 p.m., but Meeks said the board will comb through the agreement line by line, section by section, in order to build that comfort level to move toward breaking ground in the near future.

“As long as it takes,” Meeks said. “Noon until we’re done, I think. Until everyone is hopefully comfortable.”

The agreement — available in full on the School Board’s website, including all of its revisions, additions and retractions — emphasizes that the building would be a community field house, an athletic center open to teams, clubs and paying members during non-district hours.

The document includes about every detail possible in the pre-construction process, including the appointment of a field house general manager, priority use and public use, parking as well as contractual durations between the district and the operating company.

The agreement states that the company agrees to use its best efforts to raise money sufficient to cover all costs necessary, such as planning, design and construction. It goes on to state that before any work is done by an architect, money must be deposited into a field house account equal to or greater than the total cost of that architect’s contract.

If the field house project falls through somehow and it is decided to call off operations, the agreement says donors’ money will be refunded fully from that account.

Part of the agreement looks at implementing a field house committee, composed of six members approximately four months before the building’s completion. The six members, it states, would be split, with three appointed by the district and three by the company.

“Basically, we’re trying to outline the responsibilities of the school district and the committee of the company,” Meeks said. “The goal is to stay there until we get through it, understand it, and whatever changes we agree to make, we will take those and agree with it.”

He added that should the parties involved in Wednesday’s workshop come to full agreement, the board could call a special meeting soon after and approve it.

“I think Mark and Kevin said that before they could contact the donors, they need that document,” Meeks said.

Lynch called the project a “no brainer” last October and “as profitable as you’d ever want it to be.”

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

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