Upgrades at Boulder Valley Schools

Three Boulder Valley schools are in line to get more upgrades than originally planned.

The Boulder Valley school board heard a recommendation Tuesday from staff members on where to spend $1.3 million in surplus money from the school district’s $296.8 million bond project, which voters approved in 2006 to upgrade schools and facilities across the district. The board is scheduled to vote on the proposal at its next meeting.

Through a combination of interest earnings and project savings, there’s a total of about $3.6 million in bond money that hasn’t been allocated. A recommendation on spending the remainder is expected in the fall.

With most of the second-phase projects complete and construction at schools in the final phase already started over spring break or starting this summer, Boulder Valley Bond Planning, Engineering and Construction Director Don Orr said now is a good time to allocate the extra money.

“This is a nice problem to have,” he said.

In previous years, the school board has allocated more than $4 million in surplus money from the 2006 bond issue, including $2 million to construct a larger building for Boulder’s Columbine Elementary.

The district’s Citizen Bond Oversight Committee developed the recommendation for spending the current $1.3 million using a process that weighs schools’ needs for more money based on enrollment surges and programmatic changes.

Most, about $900,000, would go to Broomfield Heights Middle School to expand and remodel its combined cafeteria and auditorium. Another $200,000 would be spent to address floorplan issues at Boulder’s Halcyon School, with the remaining $200,000 going to upgrade the now-unused kitchen at Boulder’s New Vista High School.

At Broomfield Heights, Principal Nancy Vaughn said the combined cafeteria and auditorium are too small. The design, with tiered levels that drop down to a “pit,” also makes much of the space inaccessible to students with disabilities, she said.

“It’s really lacking,” she said.

She said the expansion, which includes a larger stage, will create more seating for spectators and a better experience for students participating in the school’s extensive performing arts program. The floor layout also will be modified to one level.

“We’re quite excited,” she said. “This will be a much nicer facility for middle school students.”

Halcyon, which serves middle and high school students with mental health challenges, is located in a former elementary school building with low ceilings and small learning spaces. The bond money would be used to address fire code issues, provide private offices for counseling sessions and refresh finishes, carpet and paint.

A new building for Halcyon also has been proposed for inclusion in a future bond issue.

At New Vista, the money would update the kitchen, which hasn’t been used since New Vista moved into the former middle school building in the fall of 2003. The principal at New Vista has proposed starting a lunch program at the school. Now, many students cross Broadway to get to a shopping center where they can eat lunch.

“It is a safety hazard,” said school board member Helayne Jones.

Construction on all the projects is expected to wrap up in August 2012.

Read more: Boulder Valley plans upgrades at three schools with $1.3M surplus – Boulder Daily Camera http://www.dailycamera.com/news/ci_17830526#ixzz1JRBfMuCg
DailyCamera.com

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