No decision on bond ask

Clear Creek school board continues to grapple with fate of Carlson Elementary

Deb Hurley Brobst
dbrobst@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 4/28/21

The Clear Creek school board has not decided whether it should ask voters for a bond in November and whether to remodel Carlson Elementary School or retrofit the former middle school into a …

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No decision on bond ask

Clear Creek school board continues to grapple with fate of Carlson Elementary

Posted

The Clear Creek school board has not decided whether it should ask voters for a bond in November and whether to remodel Carlson Elementary School or retrofit the former middle school into a state-of-the-art elementary school.

The board continued to wrestle with the decisions and gather more information at its meeting on April 20, though the board heard from a consultant who said he believed the school district could be successful in asking voters for a bond.

Both the 82-year-old Carlson building and the former middle school — called Building 103 — would need close to $20 million in renovations. Plus other schools in the district needs millions of dollars in repairs and upgrades.

In fact, the Colorado Department of Education estimates that Clear Creek’s four school buildings will need about $31.6 million in repairs in the next five years.

Board member Larry Pyers said he was concerned about going to voters for another request for money when the district asked voters for a bond override three years ago and is still completing those projects.

However, consultant Nathan Steele with Steele Strategies said the last bond, which is paying for new playgrounds at the elementary schools, the new sports field at Clear Creek High School, three new buses and more, is showing taxpayers that the district is making good on its promises.

Board members also discussed a bond request in terms of enrollment, hoping that the student count stops its downward slide. They don’t know if more school consolidations might be in the district’s future.

However, board member Kelly Flenniken noted: “Whether we have exploding or declining enrollment, we have an obligation that (students’) learning environment is inspiring and beautiful.”

Regarding the Carlson vs. former middle school (Building 103) debate, board members were cognizant of the emotional attachment to the 82-year-old Carlson building. However, they noted that a lot could be done with Building 103 and the district could provide additional services since an elementary school would not use the entire building.

Idaho Springs resident Mike Caistor reminded the board that the district also has the option to raze part of the 80,000-square-foot building to save money.

Carlson Elementary sixth graders, as part of an assignment, researched the Carlson-Building 103 question, and four students provided the board with their insights. Three said the elementary school should move to Building 103, while one said to stay at Carlson.

Sixth grader Makenna Kowalewski said renovating Carlson would be less expensive and make the school a great place again, and the district would be better served staying there.

However, sixth grader Mckenna Clark said Building 103 had many large rooms to fit students comfortably, and there would be room for a lab dedicated solely to fifth-grade teacher Michael Rossino’s science experiments. Other students said Building 103 would provide more opportunities for activities both outdoors and indoors, including bike riding, gardening, drama classes and more.

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