RFSD tackling its building needs | PostIndependent.com

RFSD tackling its building needs

Although the old part of Glenwood Springs Elementary School is in relatively good repair
Will Grandbois / Post Independent |

Meeting dates:

January 20, 6-8 p.m at Basalt Elementary

January 21, 6-8 p.m. at Crystal River Elementary

January 22 ,6:30-8:30 p.m. at Glenwood Springs Elementary

Parents and residents from Glenwood Springs to Basalt will have a chance to help shape Roaring Fork School District’s building plan in a series of bilingual community meetings next week.

For months, a committee of 41 parents, staff members and community leaders has worked with the Cuningham Group, an architecture and design firm with national experience, in surveying facilities needs for the district. The committee has been encouraged to dream big.

“The master plan really needs to be all-encompassing in terms of what we need, not just what we think we can afford,” said Assistant Superintendent Shannon Pelland.

The district has a wealth of building and grounds needs.

Sopris Elementary and Glenwood Springs Middle are well over capacity, and Glenwood Springs Elementary and Glenwood Springs High are getting close. A K-8 school on district-owned land near Orrison Distributing between Carbondale and Glenwood could help take some of the strain off Glenwood schools, if the community is behind it and funding can be found.

Glenwood High lacks sufficient sports fields, forcing students to practice off site for some teams, and some schools have poor traffic flow.

Glenwood Springs Elementary was passed over in the last round of construction, and will soon require significant renovations or outright reconstruction. Changes could be either fueled or delayed by Glenwood’s confluence plan, which seeks improvements just north of the school and may prompt a land swap between the district and the town in order to put housing where the school’s fields currently are.

Carbondale schools are clamoring for additional recreational facilities and fields, and Basalt is in need of a performing arts space.

The district is also looking to improve security across the board, integrate early childhood education in elementary schools, and provide affordable housing for some of its staff. The committee also recommends shuffling some other facilities, potentially placing some district offices in Carbondale and moving a bus barn out to Blue Lake.

In its fifth workshop Monday, the group will begin assigning priorities and preparing cost estimates, phasing in recommendations in time for the public meetings. It’s a tall order to try to meet needs across the district, but Cuningham representative Doug Pratte is optimistic.

“I think the group really has a pretty good idea when it comes to prioritizing what the issues are districtwide, because we’ve all be working together,” he said.

Basalt Elementary School Principal and committee member Suzanne Wheeler-Del Piccolo agreed.

“I think Cuningham’s done a nice job of creating an environment where every voice is heard,” she said. “I think the community feedback sessions have brought out good dialogue, discussions and creative ideas.”

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