Bayfield school officials are moving full speed ahead on necessary steps for construction of a new school for grades 3-5, contingent on voter approval of a $37 million bond issue in November.
On Tuesday evening the school board approved Marty Zwisler to serve as the owner's representative on the school construction projects, contingent on the bond issue passing. He oversaw the addition at the high school in 2013-14 and did much of the work last winter to prepare the successful application for a BEST grant from the Colorado Department of Education.
The grant will cover $8.56 million of the bond project, leaving $28.6 million to be paid by local property taxes, if approved by local voters.
The board also gave approval to an annexation agreement with the town to annex 40 acres just south of the middle school. That's where the new grade 3-5 school is planned.
District Finance Director Amy Lyons said, "We've been in negotiation with the town maybe since January." The district did a traffic impact study on the new school. It showed two intersections that need improvements - left turn lanes and acceleration and deceleration lanes on County Road 501 at Sossaman Drive, and the Mountain View-East Oak Drive-Lakeside Drive intersection.
"That's been a mess as long as I can remember," Zwisler said of the Mountain View-Oak Drive intersection. "What is proposed is a roundabout the same size as the one on 501."
He said there also will be improvements on East Oak Drive from there up to Cedar Drive, and traffic circulation improvements at the mid school. That section of East Oak will be widened, with left turn lanes into the mid school and the new school, also curbs, gutters, and sidewalks. It should function better after the new school is built than it does now, Zwisler said. And there will be a dedicated pick-up and drop-off lane for parents at the mid school, with no loss of parking spaces.
That should eliminate mid school traffic backing up on Oak Drive, Superintendent Troy Zabel said.
All these things will be in the bond issue budget, Lyons said. Another $500,000 will be set aside as the district's share of future improvements on Highway 160. And the district will work with an east side property owner to complete an easement for a future road from 160 at the east edge of town through the school land to Cedar Drive. All that is part of the annexation agreement.
"We've come to a good place, and we're excited to get the annexation moving forward," Lyons said.
Zwisler added, "We've worked through all the details of the agreement. The town has worked with us really well. It's been a good collaborative effort." He advised that it still needs the legal description for the road easement.
Lyons said, "We'd like to have the board approve the annexation agreement and authorize Troy or me to sign the document with the town once all the documents are done. The agreement itself won't change. It's just these exhibits. Then the town could approve it and we could get this done in September."
The bond project also includes significant renovation and additions at the elementary school to accommodate grades K-2. A fundamental goal and justification for the BEST grant is to get kindergarteners and first graders out of the old primary school on South Street. The district will host a community open house on this on Oct. 3.
The bond question will be ballot issue B-3 on ballots that go to voters in the school district.