City ballot question tied to Glenwood Elementary plan
A special city of Glenwood Springs election on Sept. 8 asks for voters’ permission to consider selling or trading the city’s recycling center property for use as part of the proposed Glenwood Springs Elementary School overhaul.
Meanwhile, the Roaring Fork School District board is expected to decide at its Aug. 26 meeting whether to seek voter approval in the November election for a broader $122 million bond issue for several projects from Glenwood to Basalt, including the new GSES building and campus.
The city question is just the first step in a long, multistep process that ties in not only with the school district’s plans for the GSES site, but the larger confluence area redevelopment plan.
Ballots containing the single city question were mailed out this week to city voters. Completed ballots are due back by Sept. 8.
It asks if the city should be authorized to “sell or otherwise convey” parcels at 941 and 1015 School St., just south of the existing GSES campus.
“The scenario we have discussed with the school district contemplates exchanging that property with the school district, for school property that is now Vogelaar Park,” City Manager Jeff Hecksel explained.
The ballot question, if approved, would only give authorization for the city to begin negotiations with the school district. Details of that potential deal would then have to be worked out, Hecksel said.
That’s also when the city would have to decide where to relocate the recycling center and storage facilities that now occupy the site being sought for the school development.
“We have had some internal discussions about that, and there may have to be some interim solutions before we find a permanent home for the recycling center,” Hecksel said.
One of the challenges is to find a location that can accommodate the high volume of in-and-out traffic generated by the recycling center, he said.
The proposed $29.2 million overhaul of GSES would use parts of the existing building and reconfigure the campus, moving the playground, parking and student pick-up/drop-off areas south of the school building.
Earlier this year, the school district was selected for a $9.1 million state Building Excellent Schools Today grant to help pay for the Glenwood project. But it’s still part of a larger bond issue that’s on the table for the school board to decide, involving school facilities in Carbondale and Basalt as well.
According to Shannon Pelland, the Roaring Fork School District’s assistant superintendent for finance, the cost estimate for GSES has been raised from original estimates, due to the timing of the Grand Avenue Bridge project.
As originally scheduled, construction of the new school was scheduled to be completed at the same time the Colorado Department of Transportation expects a 90-day detour to be in place related to the bridge project. That route is just north of GSES along an extended Eighth Street connection from Grand Avenue to Midland Avenue.
“We decided that was overly optimistic,” Pelland said. “It may take longer than anticipated to complete, so there was an additional cost escalation.”
Should the bond issue go forward and be approved by school district voters, Pelland said the goal would be to complete the new GSES facility by the middle or end of the 2017-18 school year.
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