Cactus Valley renovation delays first day of school by two days |

Cactus Valley renovation delays first day of school by two days

Cactus Valley Elementary School in Silt.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

The first day of school for an elementary school in Silt is being delayed two days to allow contractors to place the finishing touches on a major renovation project that started earlier this year.

With the first day of school for all Garfield Re-2 schools slated for Aug. 15, students at Cactus Valley Elementary School won’t begin their first day until Aug. 17, Garfield Re-2 Director of Facilities John Oldham reported to the Garfield Re-2 School Board on Wednesday.

The school is to receive 450 students this year — including 85 kindergartners.

“I don’t feel that we’re giving (students) a completely safe, confident and secure place until Wednesday,” he said. “It’s not one thing. Everybody’s working as hard as they can work.”

Following ground floor settlement issues, Cactus Valley — built in 2007 — had to undergo a $5.65 million project to replace its slab and renovate many other areas of the structure. The project, which is also supported by a $2.15 million grant through the Colorado Department of Education, was contracted to FCI Constructors Inc. of Grand Junction. 

When approving the contract, the Re-2 board had the option of either spanning the project out over two summers or get everything completed this summer. Board president Meriya Stickler said doing the project over two summers would have caused additional move outs and move ins.

“It would be way too much impact on staff and families to be two summers, because it prolonged us having a great, solid foundational school,” she said. 

When Cactus Valley renovation approval came earlier this year, Oldham said it was originally going to be a six- to eight-month project, giving FCI 180-240 calendar days to work. Instead, the project was condensed and began May 2.

“It’s amazing how much you guys got done,” Re-2 board member Britton Fletchall told FCI representatives.

Oldham said the project, among other small things to tie up, still needs to pass its water test between this week and Aug. 17 — the new first day of school for Cactus Valley. But Oldham said he’s very confident the project will pass all required inspections, including a certificate of completion, before then.

Troy Reynolds of FCI said the school will be safe and ready for all the students to come back.

“We didn’t want parents to get slammed on the weekend with, ‘Oh, my gosh, now what do we do?’” he said. “To provide them with this buffer we felt was the fairest way to treat it.”

Garfield Re-2 Director of Communications Theresa Hamilton said the district has now made 871 phone calls and sent 577 emails to notify Cactus Valley parents of the delay.

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