School Board hires pre-bond engineer for facility upgrades, new school | SteamboatToday.com

School Board hires pre-bond engineer for facility upgrades, new school

— The Steamboat Springs School Board Monday approved the hiring of RLH Engineering to move forward with the district's need for more facility space.

The board voted unanimously to approve a contract with the Windsor-based engineering firm for the completion of pre-bond work including potentially putting a bond measure on the November ballot to fund facility upgrades and possibly a third elementary school.

"This is a huge project for us," said Board Chair Roger Good. "We added onto a school not long ago, and it's safe to say there are members of our community who are concerned we are doing this again so soon."

Steamboat voters in 2006 approved a $29.7 million bond issue for the reconstruction of Soda Creek Elementary and the expansion of Strawberry Park Elementary, with the new Soda Creek opening to students in the fall of 2008.

Despite those upgrades, a demographer in the fall told the Steamboat Springs School Board that district enrollment likely would continue to increase during the next several years and a third elementary school would be necessary.

"From a timeline perspective, it's January, and we potentially have to go to the voters for a lot of money in November," Good said.

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RLH Engineering principal and partner Jeff Chamberlin attended Monday's meeting and will spend Tuesday touring the district with Director of Maintenance, Operations and Transportation Pascal Ginesta.

"This is a big engagement for us," Chamberlin said.

As part of the contract, the district will pay RLH for services at a rate not to exceed $3,500 monthly or $35,000 total.

In order to potentially put a bond issue on the November ballot, Chamberlin said the district would need to work backward, applying to be on the ballot in August, making board decisions about facility needs in July and having research and options to review by this June.

"I believe you're on schedule, but things need to start moving," Chamberlin said.

Chamberlin said it wasn't predetermined in his mind whether capital construction would take place, and if so, whether this was the year to go to voters.

He said an initial step in the pre-bond process would be a community meeting later this month.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow