Dillon, Breck schools break ground for summer renovations
SUMMIT COUNTY – Students and staff at two area elementary schools put down the books and picked up shovels Monday to mark the beginning of major construction projects.
Breckenridge and Dillon Valley elementary schools held groundbreaking ceremonies Monday, with school board members handing out hard hats and chrome-plated spades. Classes end for the summer today, but principals, teachers and other school staff will be busily packing up to make room for construction crews.
Both schools are scheduled to receive interior and exterior facelifts. Work plans include painting, new furniture, improvements to main entrances, siding replacement and roof work. In addition, Dillon Valley is to have three new classrooms added on to the building. The most substantial changes, however, won’t be visible to the casual observer. Each school’s heating and ventilation system will be gutted and replaced with more modern equipment.
“The systems are inadequate and inefficient,” said Superintendent Wes Smith. “Some rooms over heat, some aren’t warm enough and they don’t bring in fresh air. This is going to be a vast improvement.”
The major interior work means teachers will have to empty their classrooms and pile carefully marked boxes in the schools’ gymnasiums until they can search for them again in the fall. Smith said he expected the two schools to be full of activity, even after the students have left the building.
“It’s an added burden at the end of the year,” Smith said. “But I think, for the most part, the teachers are happy to have the opportunity for a better environment.”
Construction companies are expected to turn the buildings back over to the school district Aug. 21. Smith said some exterior work will continue even after school starts on Sept. 3. The Dillon Valley project was budgeted at $2.8 million, the Breckenridge project at $3 million.
Work also is planned this summer on other school projects. Thanks to an exceptional work bid, Smith said, three years’ worth of roof work will be done this summer. Bids also are expected on the district’s proposed new maintenance facility, an $800,000 budget item. The construction projects are the result of a $9 million property tax mill levy increase approved by voters in November 2001.
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