Silt school building facing a number of problems |

Silt school building facing a number of problems

SILT ” Roy Moore Elementary in Silt has had its day in the sun.

But now, the sun appears to be setting on the school building that has held thousands of growing students’ footprints over the past 34 years.

Roy Moore Elementary has seen major repairs for the seven years Craig Jay, director of maintenance for Garfield School District Re-2, has been with the district, he said.

The current facility was built in 1972, on the foundation of the old Silt High School. Since then, there have been two major additions to the facility in 1982 and 1997. Over the past seven years alone, the school district has spent more than a half-a-million dollars on repairs to the building.

Engineers have made recommendations for repairs, estimating the cost will be between $5 and $7 million, with no guarantee of fixing the problems, Jay said.

The school district has been working with engineers, from Thompson-Langford Corporation in Grand Junction, to assess the structural integrity of the building. According to the engineers report, the problems with the building are a direct cause of the “soil conditions” around and under the facility.

Engineers figure the reason for the Increased water flow of the water table, underneath the building, can be attributed to an old gravel pit directly north of the school, where a new baseball park is today. Excess water saturates the ground causing the building to constantly shift. Basically causing the building to deteriorate.

“All buildings move,” Jay said. “This building just moves more than most.”

The water table underneath causes the facility to move up and down, again and again, depending on the amount of water, and the time of year.

“Different parts move at different times,” Jay said. The engineers have estimated that within 12 to 18 months, parts of the building could be determined as “potentially unsafe,” he added.

“It’s not as if the building is going to fall down tomorrow,” he said. “It may only be one room that is unsafe (in that time period) but, as that happens, more and more of the building becomes unsafe as well.”

Another major problem to consider, is that the current facility is pushing capacity. Due in large part, to the growing student population felt throughout the district, according to school district Superintendent Dr. Gary Pack. If the school district continues to grow at the same rate it has, about 4 to 5 percent over last year alone, it’s projected to exceed 16,000 students by 2030. Currently the school district has approximately 4,200 students.

“We need to start building for the future,” Pack said. “We will be there before you know it.”

Part of the funds in the $74.9 million, November bond issue for Re-2, includes construction costs for a replacement elementary school building in Silt.

The construction costs for the new facility is estimated around $13.3 million, but the school district is still waiting for additional construction bids to come in.

Costs for Coal Ridge High school, praised by the bond oversight committee at $108 per square foot, are a thing of the past, according to Howard Stapleton, Re-2 school board vice president. The estimates for a new elementary building have been coming in at around $200 per square foot.

However, Re-2 has already purchased the land for the new facility with money from the 2001 bond, in addition to some general fund money. The bond funds were earmarked for maintenance of Roy Moore but, the board members thought it was a better idea to “build toward the future” according to school board members.

The district has already been working with architects on structural plans, so if they receive voter approval they will be ready to proceed.

“We have taken the necessary steps in order to be ready if the bond issue passes,” emphasized Roy Moore Principal Lisa Whitmore. “If the bond passes we hope to break ground as soon as possible and could be in the new facility as soon as December of 2007.”

The new facility is based off the plans for Highland Elementary in Rifle, Whitmore said. Adding that the plans for the new facility will be similar with a few small modifications.

Engineers continually monitor the Roy Moore building every 90 days and update the school district on its condition.

Contact John Gardner: 945-8515, ext. 535

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