D-16 says $35 million bond will allow it to keep up with increasing enrollment
PARACHUTE – Garfield County School District 16 is asking voters to approve a $35 million bond for construction costs to help with the increasing student enrollment felt throughout the district and western part of the county.”The needed additions are not only to meet current conditions, but also to meet future accommodations,” said Garfield County School District 16 Superintendent Dr. Steven McKee.Parachute and Battlement Mesa are already feeling the strain of growth in their schools.”The growth is already here,” McKee said. “Most of it is felt in the elementary level right now.”Bea Underwood Elementary School in Parachute is already exceeding by 95 its current capacity of 450 students.The school district recently sent out a survey to voters to get a sense of whether the community would support the proposed ballot issue. The response was positive.”We wanted to listen to the community and give them what they want,” McKee said. “We work for them and they are the schools, so it was important to get their feedback.”Construction projects include repairs and improvements to Bea Underwood Elementary, reconstruction of L.W. St John Middle School into an elementary facility and construction of a new middle school building to replace St John. Also included is a new transportation facility near Grand Valley High School that will house a welding station for vocational programs and improvements to the Early Childhood Learning Center.The Battlement Mesa Company’s manager, Eric Schmela, advised the school board that the company was donating a 25-acre parcel of land to the district at the Oct. 10 school board meeting. The land is to be used for the new middle school.”It’s such a great thing,” McKee said. “Now we don’t have to spend money on the land.”With the land donated, the bond money will go even further toward meeting increasing construction costs.Contact John Gardner: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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