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Passionate Clear Creek residents voiced concerns and ideas for Building 103 at the Aug. 22 Bond Town Hall meeting.
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Building 103, the former middle school, is being turned into a renovated elementary school with a focus on outdoor learning, thanks to a bond-funded project voted on by Clear Creek voters. The elementary school will use approximately 70% of the building space, and the district is hoping to use the remaining 30% for a community partnership.
The district currently is exploring options for a partnership with an early childhood education center or Clear Creek Community for Art and Education, or both, with discussions of also including district offices in the unused space.
These plans could affect some of the other potential options for outdoor space on the lot, which includes a skate park or multipurpose field. These plans could be complicated by playground space needed for a childcare center.
Some members of the community were confused as to why the district wanted to move Carlson Elementary from its current location in the first place. Mike Moonan, a district consultant, cited multiple concerns with the property, including issues with the mechanical system and roof, to be reasons why the property is no longer a good facility for the district to invest in.
“This site has what they call a 97% facility condition index, as the facility condition index number rises, it indicates that a facility should be looked at for replacement—97% here is totally unacceptable,” Moonan said.
Multiple meeting attendees expressed strong advocacy for the addition of a childcare facility. As community members pointed out, Clear Creek is a childcare desert, meaning there is little to no access to childcare in the area.
Liz Houston, a community member at the meeting and the Deputy Director of Partnerships & Development, Early Childhood Health Outdoors at the National Wildlife Federation, said that in 2020 there were 405 children under 5 years old in the Clear Creek Community, but only 47 licensed childcare seats available.
“Like many communities in Colorado, Clear Creek County is a childcare desert,” Houston said. “There’s a huge need for childcare in this community.”
Other meeting attendees voiced concerns about the physical property and plans, wondering about the lack of parking, ADA access, lack of windows and the issue of security for an outside entity operating on the top floor of an elementary school.
Mike Castor, a local architect not affiliated with the project, voiced some of these concerns. Looking at the plans, he saw the elementary school would occupy the first three floors with the fourth being open for a partner.
“A major problem I see with this plan is they’ve got this fourth floor here. How do you get to this without going through the school?” Castor asked. He proposed a separate entrance on the ground floor of the building.
The district hopes to continue to get community feedback with the use of an online form, due Aug. 31, where people can express ideas and concerns about proposed uses. The master plan draft for the building can also be found on the Clear Creek Constructs website.
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