Steamboat School Board tackles multi-million dollar roofing job | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat School Board tackles multi-million dollar roofing job

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Just two weeks after voters in the Nov. 7 election  approved the Steamboat Springs School District's $12.9 million bond issue to tackle pressing maintenance needs, the wheels are in motion to begin construction in the summer of 2018.

The district is prioritizing the selection of a roofing consultant to help with the bidding process for general contractors, School Superintendent Brad Meeks said during the Nov. 20 Board of Education meeting,

"Today was the day to return bids, so we'll know how that turned out here shortly," school district Finance Director Mark Rydberg told the school board. "Hang on. For those of you who have done construction projects at home, things can go fast. Things come up you didn't expect. Trust the people you're working with, but trust and verify."

Meeks said he is also forming a citizen design advisory group for the improvements to Gardner Athletic Field, which include replacing unsafe bleachers, the all-weather field and running track.

Rydberg also reported that the district intends to apply early in 2018 for a state "Building  Excellent Schools Today" grant, or BEST grant, that would stretch local dollars by covering 20 percent of the cost of the roofing project.

"The match is 80-20, so we'd put up 80 percent," Rydberg said. "Say the roofs are $5 million, the grant would cover $1 million. If they come in at $5.5 million, they'd still give us 20 percent. That's important."

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Prior to the election, the school board executed new contracts with its consulting firm, MV5, one to oversee construction on the 2018 projects, and a second contract to advise the school district on a potential second phase. That phase would likely see the district returning to the voters to seek to increase capacity at existing schools along the lines of projects already highlighted by the Community Committee for Education (CC4E).

The possibilities include adding classrooms to the existing high school, and/or adding a gymnasium to Strawberry Park Elementary School to take pressure off the multi-purpose cafeteria, among other options.

While no decisions have been made, the district has sent signals that it might wait until at least 2019 to seek funding for a new round of capital improvements. That would allow the  Steamboat Springs Education Fund Board to pursue renewal of the half-cent city of Steamboat Springs sales tax for education, without competition.

Bond sale waits until New Year

In a related matter, Rydberg told the school board the district's financial advisers have strongly recommended waiting until January to actually sell the school bonds, when interest rates may be more favorable.

Given "the federal situation, with the tax bill out there, we've seen a lot of people rushing into getting things done in December for tax purposes," Rydberg said.

The school district has engaged bond underwriter RBC to market the bonds and financial adviser First Southwestern Financial Services to help ensure the district is getting the best terms it can on the bond sale.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

School Board officers selected

Steamboat Springs Board of Education President Joey Andrew was unanimously returned Nov. 20 to that role, and Margaret Huron was also unanimously approved to serve as Vice President.