Durango school board members heard details about where money will go for security and safety upgrades, repairs and new projects if voters approve $90 million in bonds on the Nov. 3 general election ballot.
Representatives from charter schools also made presentations about how bond money would help finance their plans to meet future needs at Tuesday night’s Durango School District 9-R meeting held remotely on Zoom.
All 9-R schools will receive attention, principally for security upgrades. But deferred maintenance needs for essential building functions such as roofs and HVAC units also appeared high on the needs list for many schools.
Costs for repairs, security upgrades, additions to technology and other needs – for instance, the district wants to replace 17 buses that are at least 15 years old – ranged from $45 million to rebuild Miller Middle School to $1.8 million at Fort Lewis Mesa Elementary School.
Superintendent Dan Snowberger said 9-R has about 1 million square feet of buildings it needs to keep safe and secure, and budgets for maintenance and repairs were first to be hit with cuts when revenue was lost in the Great Recession of 2008.
Based on Colorado Department of Education recommendations, 9-R should be spending about $5 million on building maintenance and repairs in its annual budget. Instead, Snowberger said the district has spent about $1 million annually since the 2008.
“As a district, this is a cost we have to account for,” he said. “We can’t go back to our voters in 10 years and ask for more money for deferred maintenance.”
He said the $90 million bond is designed to get a handle on capital needs for the next 20 years.
Here is a sampling of some of the projects that would be financed if voters approve the bonds:
Miller Middle School would receive a $45 million rebuild on its current site. The building, constructed in 1966, has so many issues it would be cheaper to rebuild it than to attend to needed repairs. The district is looking at three different plans to handle replacing and rebuilding, including building on the athletic field while school continues in the current building. Durango High School would receive $11.6 million for repairs, including replacing a chiller in the air conditioning system that dates from 1994. Improvements would include a secure entry vestibule; Columbine locks, which can be locked from the inside, for classrooms; repairs for old roofs and windows; and fixes to accessibility issues in hallways and ramps.A Career and Technical Education Center, estimated to cost $10 million, would be built at DHS. The center would be home to education in career fields such as culinary arts, welding, carpentry, homebuilding, plumbing and auto mechanics. The center would also have flexible space that could be reconfigured to handle different educational needs based on the job market and upstairs classrooms for Pueblo Community College and other colleges for concurrent classes.[email protected]