At $82 million for Re-1 projects, phasing them would be best |

At $82 million for Re-1 projects, phasing them would be best

It’s a good idea to plan for the future, especially if it’s going to cost $82 million.

Consultants for the Roaring Fork School District presented a draft long-range facilities master plan to the School Board last week. The tally for new schools, additions and safety projects was $82 million.

School superintendent Fred Wall said the district will need voters to approve a bond issue to fund the projects, and said the matter could be put on the ballot as soon as November 2004.

Property owners had better sit up and pay attention to this one, because an $82 million bond issue would triple the school district’s debt load, now at $40.5 million. Without a doubt, this would mean an increase in property taxes.

The first chance to plug in is a series of meetings next Monday in Basalt and Carbondale and Tuesday in Glenwood Springs, when the consultants, RTA Architects of Colorado Springs, will present plans for schools in each community.

We are pleased to note that the consultants tossed out the screwball idea of moving Glenwood Springs High School to the airport, and are instead calling for redevelopment of the existing school site in midtown Glenwood Springs. Discussions over the $30 million price tag and the recommendation to expand the campus should come next.

The long-range plan also includes many solid improvements for Carbondale schools (a new high school and building out Crystal River Elementary as the community’s elementary school), a generous gesture to a community that got the short end of the district’s 1993 bond issue.

Schools in the district may need to be modernized, but the growth argument will take more convincing. Enrollment appears to have grown by 0.5 percent this year, hardly the kind of boom that demands rapid expansion.

The district should divide the long-range plan into phases, which may require a series of bond issue elections, to avoid placing too heavy a burden on taxpayers.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.