Durango School District Lines Up Bond Projects Big and Small – The Durango Herald

Maintenance, repairs and refits are expected to begin this summer

Marie Voss-Patterson, principal of Park Elementary School, shows the crowded cafeteria office Friday, which doubles as a dry storage area. A portion of the voter-approved bond money will go toward building new dry storage in the cafeteria. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Durango’s 9-R School District has millions of dollars it needs to spend — or at least commit — by November 2023. The money is tied to the 4A bond initiative that voters overwhelmingly supported during of the November 2020 election, and will go towards projects that will improve school buildings throughout the district.

A total of 17 bond packages are included in the bond project. They include repairs, maintenance, and updates for a major Miller Middle School rebuild.

Miller’s reconstruction has a budget of $45 million, according to a program summary report.

The college, built in 1961, poses multiple problems.

Classrooms are too small and not conducive to student learning, according to a report by the district’s long-range planning committee. They have poor acoustics and floor plans are generally poorly laid out.

Classrooms, restrooms, and locker rooms are outdated, and the institution does not support faculty-student collaboration due to a lack of discussion space for small group learning. Space for special education and social-emotional learning is also insufficient, according to the report.

The 2020 Facilities Master Plan indicates that the land between the sports fields and the school is eroding every year.

Emily Meisner, chair of the Citizens Bond Oversight Committee, said a third design and advisory meeting had been completed and the team was moving towards the schematic design of the college. The team contacts asbestos consultants and explores contract options for asbestos removal.

Devon Merriman, project manager at Jacobs, a civil engineering firm, and school district leadership visited five different schools, including schools in Erie and Littleton, to get ideas for how Miller might be redesigned. .

“It was a really fun activity because it’s a real eye-opener of what’s possible in these new modern 21st century schools,” he said.

He said modern school libraries seem to have transformed into media centers and shared spaces. During school visits, the group saw concepts such as learning stairs and placing “fun” furniture in schools. They also observed how instruction takes place in these establishments.

Meisner said 85% of the $114.2 million in bonds must be spent or committed to a spending plan by November 2023. So far, about 15% of the money has been committed with 6% spent, leaving 84% remaining.

About $17.5 million was committed for spending in the school district, including $7.5 million for charter schools.

Paul Maddex, acting spokesman for 9-R, clarified in an email Friday that the numbers were as of December 31.

Many projects are planned for Park Elementary School from the bond money voters approved in 2020, including security vestibules, roof maintenance, and kitchen upgrades. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Merriman told the school board that the bond project continues to gain momentum early this year, and Jacobs is keeping that idea front and center with consultants, contractors and designers to stay ahead of the game. turbulent materials market, which has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some developer contracts have been secured, while others remain in progress or have deals planned. For example, contracts have been signed with Nunn Construction and FCI Constructors for upcoming projects planned for this summer, such as the addition of secure vestibules at Durango High School and Escalante Middle School, as well as Animas Valley and Needham Primary Schools.

Another set of obligations relates to the DHS-planned Career Innovation Center, which is still in the design phase.

Superintendent Karen Cheser described the center as a place for students to explore career options through hands-on and engaging work with computers and machines such as 3D printers, laser cutters and engravers, and more. The center is intended to complement the school district’s various efforts to prepare students for careers after graduation.

Merriman said student participation was a factor for the Miller Middle School and Career Innovation Center packages. Sixth-grade students in teacher Stephanie Mt. Pleasant’s class submitted their own designs and design elements that they would like to see in middle school.

He also said DHS student Nicholas Huber was “absolutely key in providing great insight, design elements and guiding principles” for the Innovation Hub.

Civil engineering documents from Jacobs presented to the Citizens Bond Oversight Committee detail the planned course of certain projects.

Other projects to tackle this summer include roof maintenance and repairs at Park, Fort Lewis Mesa, Sunnyside and Needham Elementary Schools. Additional repairs are scheduled for Florida Mesa and Riverview Elementary Schools, Escalante Middle School, and DHS in the summer of 2023 or later.

Asphalt and concrete projects are also planned this summer at Sunnyside, Riverview, Animas Valley and Needham elementary schools, and Escalante Middle School.

Marie Voss-Patterson, Principal of Park Elementary School, shows where plans call for cutting into a wall and building a service window from the kitchen to the cafeteria. Currently, all food must be placed in the cafeteria at the time of service. The cafeteria serves approximately 500 breakfasts and lunches each school day. Other plans at the school include new carpets, new boilers, plumbing and the parking lot which was recently repaved. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Maddex said in an email that at the project’s current rate of development, the school district is on track to spend all of its bond money by 2025.

The 2020 Facilities Master Plan which identified needed or desired projects can be downloaded from the school district’s website at https://bit.ly/3smrJyh

cburney@durangoherald.com

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