Carbondale school move delayed until spring
CARBONDALE ” Carbondale Middle School students, teachers and staff will have to wait until at least March, and possibly longer, before making their move into the remodeled former Roaring Fork High School building.
The latest delay is due to state requirements that a fire damper system be installed in the building, and other related upgrades. The system will take two months to be delivered and several more weeks to install, Roaring Fork School District Superintendent Judy Haptonstall said.
“Our construction owner’s representative, ARC, the architect and the contractor all anticipated that, due to the age of the building, we would be able to receive a waiver regarding this additional measure,” Haptonstall said. “But because of heightened awareness at the state level regarding code issues, our request for a waiver was denied.”
The middle school was originally to have moved into the renovated former high school building on Snowmass Drive at the start of the school year, following the completion of the new Roaring Fork High School building on Highway 133.
The move was delayed when asbestos was discovered in the drywall during the renovation project over the summer. That prompted a $1 million asbestos abatement project in the building.
It was first thought the middle school could move in by October, then that date was postponed until January. Now, it will be at least late March before the move could take place. And there’s a possibility the middle school staff may decide to wait even longer.
“We met with the school staff and asked them to think about it,” Haptonstall said. “The end of March is right in the middle of CSAPs testing, and that timing might not make sense. They’re going to talk it over and go over the pros and cons. It’s up to them.”
In the meantime, the district will work with the school to ensure that its current space, including the modular units next to the old elementary school building where eighth-grade classes are currently meeting, provide a workable environment.
“They, in turn, will be working with parents to keep them informed of plans for moving into the newly remodeled facility,” Haptonstall said. “Knowing that everyone’s patience has already been tested … we are doing everything we can to complete this project as soon as possible.”
The delay also impacts several other district programs that had anticipated moving into the old Carbondale Middle School building in January, including Bridges High School, the district technology department, the Family Resource Center offices, the Computers for Kids recycling center, and the Partnering for Success program.
While district technology and Computers for Kids can easily put off their intended move, Haptonstall said, district staff will be meeting on Monday to discuss other possible options for Bridges and the Resource Center offices.
Bridges currently occupies space at the new Roaring Fork High School. Now that the move has been delayed past December, and because the spaces occupied by Bridges are needed by RFHS staff, other options are being explored.
The Family Resource offices, which are in the modular unit next to the old high school building, currently have no access to indoor restroom facilities.
“The coming winter months will make the port-a-potty solution uncomfortable at best,” Haptonstall said. “We’ll see if we could get access to a restroom inside the building, that’s one option.”
Haptonstall has also had discussions with the Church at Carbondale about possibly using space there. She also hopes to talk to town of Carbondale officials next week about possibly moving back into the vacated former Carbondale Elementary School building for a period of time.
As part of a larger redevelopment proposal for that site, the town is planning to turn the old CES building into a community nonprofits center. However, the building conversion is in the preliminary stages and awaiting results of another asbestos assessment.
“We just have to put our heads together and see what might be available,” Haptonstall said. “It’s not just a matter of moving people, it’s also phone systems, Internet connections and getting all those things in place, too.”
Although she didn’t have any estimates on the additional costs involved to install the fire damper system and other costs associated with the delay, “It is another cost we hadn’t planned on,” she said.
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