Summit school board approves $1.9 million in funding for capital projects during 2022 budget discussions
KEYSTONE — As the first semester of school nears a close, Summit School District officials are already planning for 2022.
At a school board meeting Thursday, Nov. 5, the board unanimously voted to approve funding totaling about $1.9 million for a series of capital projects that will improve buildings owned by the district.
At the meeting, Chief Financial Officer Kara Drake presented on the district’s capital project plans. The presentation was the first step in the district’s 2022 budget approval process, Drake said.
According to Drake’s presentation, the district is forecasting $550,000 in the 2021-22 budget’s building fund. With that money, the district plans for the following improvements within district schools:
- A new cooling unit for the IT closet at Summit Middle School, estimated to cost $50,000
- A domestic hot water recirculation line at the middle school, estimated to cost $50,000
- Insulation siding and repair at Silverthorne Elementary, estimated to cost $250,000
- Replacing an air handling unit, which helps heat classrooms, at Breckenridge Elementary, estimated to cost $200,000
The district’s Facilities Committee identified the four projects as the areas with the most need for improvement. Although the board voted to approve the plans, President Kate Hudnut raised some concern about the state of the Breckenridge Elementary building, which is the second oldest in the district.
“I just want to be fiscally responsible as a board member that we’re making an investment, and it’s not just replacing the tires,” Hudnut said.
Drake said the district wasn’t “quite ready” to move forward with further renovations at the school.
“What we decided to do was to just continue maintaining Breckenridge Elementary as we would any other school,” Drake said.
The district’s Facilities Manager Woody Bates said the elementary school’s needs don’t vary far from needs identified at other schools.
“Breckenridge doesn’t look much different from any other school when we’re talking about the maintenance type items that we would take care of through capital projects,” Bates said.
If the district did decide to go forward with a total remodel of the elementary school, it would cost around $40 million and take two years just for planning, Drake said.
Drake also presented on the district’s proposed plans for its supplemental capital project fund, which pays for various improvements within the schools.
The district has set aside $1.35 million for the capital projects. Some highlights of the district’s plans include:
- More fall material for pre-K playgrounds at Silverthorne Elementary, Dillon Valley Elementary, Summit Cove Elementary, Upper Blue Elementary and Frisco Elementary, budgeted for $50,000
- Wireless system replacement at Summit High School budgeted for $120,000
- Sidewalk replacement and repair across the district, budgeted for $350,000
- Replacement of custodial equipment, budgeted for $100,000
Ultimately, the board voted to approve the funding so that construction projects could begin in the spring.
“As the board member who sits on the facilities and finance committee, I feel really comfortable with these projects,” board member Chris Alleman said. “I’ll be the first one to say that I have a lot of questions about Breckenridge Elementary, but I think it’s the best move in the grand scheme of things.”
At the meeting, Drake also presented on the district’s budget timeline and process. District committees and the board will be discussing all aspects of the 2022 budget from now until June, when the board will make a final vote.
The budget discussions will be highlighted by the novel coronavirus pandemic, as the district is preparing for a loss of funding due to cuts on the state level.
While the district is expecting some loss in funding, Drake said she is optimistic as Colorado Gov. Jared Polis’ proposed state budget works to restore some of that funding to K-12 schools.
“His budget is built on a better forecast in September, which shows some better economic recovery than we were expecting,” Drake said. “But we do have a long road ahead of us in what this next year could bring.”
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