School district hosting facilities planning meeting | SteamboatToday.com

School district hosting facilities planning meeting

Teresa Ristow

The Steamboat Springs School District will host a community forum Wednesday to gather input from the public on its master plan, facility needs and planning for the future.

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the cafeteria at Steamboat Springs High School, 45 Maple St.

Earlier this month the Steamboat Springs School Board approved the hiring of Windsor-based RLH Engineering as the pre-bond engineer to continue the assessment of district facilities needs and potentially facilitate a bond issue to raise money for a third elementary school or other facility upgrades.

RLH principal and partner Jeff Chamberlin said at the Jan. 12 board meeting that a community meeting would be the first step in the process of making a plan to update district facilities.

"The purpose is to relay the process and the timeline to the community," Chamberlin said.

Chamberlin said the meeting would provide an opportunity for community members to join facilities and finance committees.

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Superintendent Brad Meeks said that Chamberlin will present a PowerPoint and lead the meeting, and it will be a good opportunity for members of the public interested in getting involved in the facilities update process.

The district has been discussing the need for facilities upgrades since the fall, when a demographer told the School Board that district enrollment likely would continue to increase throughout the next several years, putting elementary schools above capacity and Steamboat Springs Middle School at capacity.

Demographer Shannon Bingham said there was minimal room for additional classrooms and issues with transportation congestion at Strawberry Park and Soda Creek elementary schools, meaning a third elementary likely would need to be built.

The district has discussed the possibility of using a bond issue to finance the construction of a third elementary school but hasn't made any formal decisions regarding facility needs.

Chamberlin said at the Jan. 12 meeting that the district was on track to get a bond measure on the ballot this November, if it worked quickly, but also said he wasn't necessarily advocating for that option just yet.

Meeks said the district plans to keep the public informed as it addresses the district's facility needs.

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

If you go

What: School facilities and master planning meeting

When: 6 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Cafeteria/commons at Steamboat Springs High School, 45 Maple Street