Dance studio seeks money from RFSD | PostIndependent.com

Dance studio seeks money from RFSD

Carla Jean Whitley
cj@postindependent.com
Anthony and Alexandra Jerkunica, owners of Coredination, have asked the Roaring Fork School District Re-1 to compensate them for lost business during summer construction.
Lee Pruitt |

A Carbondale dance studio is at odds with its property owner, the Roaring Fork School District, after construction forced the business from its space. Coredination and other Bridges High School tenants were displaced this summer.

The other tenants temporarily relocated to Roaring Fork High School. The district offered Coredination space there, also, but the business owners said the options weren’t suitable for their needs.

Coredination, which is home to Bonedale Ballet, subleases space from YouthEntity, a nonprofit that coaches youth in career development and financial literacy. The organization utilizes otherwise unused space at Bridges. YouthEntity made improvements to the space — a benefit to the district, according to a document provided by RFSD public information officer Kelsy Been. In return, YouthEntity subleases space to others. The revenue supports its programming, which serves 1,200 students in the district.

A 2015 bond enabled the school district to address a number of issues in its facilities. At Bridges, that included windows, heating, ventilation and electrical systems, all of which were out of date. Windows needed to be replaced, and the building’s elevator was out of service. These changes bring the building up to code, Superintendent Rob Stein said.

“The school district set an ambitious timeline for construction so that the bulk would be completed before the foreseeable spike in competition and cost,” according to the document Been provided. “By working hard and fast, the district is able to get more for less and be a good steward of your tax dollars.”

Tenants were forced to move because electrical, water sprinklers and plumbing were offline, which are considered life safety systems necessary for occupation. The school district indicated tenants were notified as soon as the district knew this would be necessary; however, Coredination owners Anthony and Alexandra Jerkunica said the notice was not adequate.

The school district paid to move tenants into temporary space at Roaring Fork High, and extended the same offer to Coredination, Stein said. The district offered to schedule classes in the school’s gym and on the school’s stage, and to locate Pilates equipment inside two classrooms.

The Jerkunicas declined the offer because dance requires a sprung floor, they said, to ensure dancer safety.

“When you do a pirouette, you have a standard surface,” Anthony Jerkunica said. “It’s like asking a football team to train and play football on a basketball court, and vice versa,” he wrote in an email.

Stein said others faced a similar challenge, in that the space was not comparable to the area they typically occupy. Basalt and Carbondale summer programs shared space, as did the Bridges and Roaring Fork kitchens.

“A lot of our staff experienced a lot of inconvenience while they had to move and make do over the summer while the construction teams did their work,” he said.

Anthony Jerkunica said the school district’s offer to move equipment and defer Coredination’s rent was insufficient. In addition to lacking an appropriate surface for dance, Anthony Jerkunica said many students ride their bicycles to classes, and the new location would be problematic. Instead, the Jerkunicas canceled most of their summer programming, and Alexandra Jerkunica taught private Pilates sessions, while they looked for alternate space. Some students switched to other studios because of these changes.

The Jerkunicas’ counsel contacted the school district and asked for compensation for the summer losses and potential future losses due to students leaving for other studios. Anthony Jerkunica said the district countered with a third of what Coredination requested.

Negotiations continue, and Stein said he isn’t currently at liberty to discuss those details. In the meantime, Coredination has moved back into its studio space at Bridges and will resume its regular programming.