2018 Master Facility Planning Process

In 2017 the Board of Education recognized the growing changes in our community's demographics. At that time the Board and the District Accountability Committee reached out to the public to evaluate the community's values and expectations for the school district.  Those results are guiding the Board in asking, "How do we want to grow as a community?"  The Board then hired a professional team of experts to help them determine what growth changes were or were not occurring in the community, and how to plan for future growth.  The team of experts that were chosen was the DLR group.  The DLR group has evaluated each of the facilities to determine what else the Board could do to better maintain the current facilities.  The DLR group helped the board understand how close current growth had pushed the programs and facilities to capacity.  The DLR groups has also completed a comprehensive demographic, particularly allowing the Board to forecast growth.  The answers that have been found are:‚Äč

1.  We have significantly grown in the last decade
2.  Facilities and Programs are beyond, at or near capacity
3.  Strong, Robust, Predictable growth in population is the reality for Chaffee County
4.  The current facilities will not sustain the population growth indefinitely.

Thus, the Board of Education is reaching out to the community to determine what values should persist through growth and change.  And, how might the community want to address change.  Below are links to information about this project; as well as a link to submit further feedback.   The first community meeting is September 17th."

   The meeting on the September 17th was well attended.  DLR briefly presented their summative findings regarding growth and demography.  Then the attendees had time to discuss with board members what values were most critical to them.  The discussions ended with an activity of individuals telling the board what do they mean when they say "small class sizes are important."  The unequivocal answer was the generic number 24, meaning there was 18-30 in any given class.  This was good news because it is the exact number the new buildings were designed around, and the number DLR was using to determine capacity. 

Here is the original findings reported to the Board of Education from the District Accountability Committee.  Here is the feedback gathered from the meeting.  Here is a summative capture of the values by Superintendent Blackburn.

    A second meeting was hosted by the Board of Education on October 1st.  It was again well attended.  Shannon Bingham from Western Demographics presented the details of the demographic findings.  There are no numbers to support any decline in population from any source.  The question is how much growth, and how fast.  Shannon's findings are that we can expect medium growth patterns that are persistent over the next decade and robust.  We can expect approx.25-28 new kids a year, which mirrors what has been happening the last 10 years.  In 2008, when the first bond for a high school was passed the district had just over 1000 students.  Ten years later the district is almost at 1300 students.  The conservative estimates says to expect much the same.  We built new buildings and have now grown into the capacity of those buildings.  IF we did not grow anymore we would be fine.  IF we continue to grow as expected then we will have facility problems, unable to manage the student programs we value.  Here are the demographic findings.

DLR then presented four sets of thinking for resolving the 'problem' of growth and capacity.  Superintendent Blackburn provides a review of the logic presented 

   Here is images of the four logic solutions described below. 

  1. The first logic matches citizens that do not think the demographic changes represent a 'problem'.  Thus, you would maintain the status quo and 'do' nothing new. The yellow numbers represent class size at the perspective building.  The community members at the meeting felt this was the least acceptable solution.

  2. The second logic matches citizens that do not see the pace and volume of growth sufficient to justify a large scale solution.  Thus, you would add on small additions or use modular classrooms to resolve capacity as needed. The community members at the meeting had a mixed reaction to this solution of equal good vs bad votes.

  3. The third logic matches citizens that see the volume and pace of growth sufficient to justify building a new facility to house student programming.  Thus, you would add another school building to the district's assets and shift grade levels around to create capacity at other buildings.  This is the traditional school response to growth and capacity struggles. Many community members at the meeting felt this was the best option to develop.  

  4. The fourth logic matches citizens that see volume and pace of growth sufficient to justify significant action, but want the district to try and creatively look for other partners to leverage shared needs and assets.  Thus, the district could look at a new building that housed multiple district and community organizations. Many community members at the meeting also felt this was the best option to develop.  

   The board will consider the pros and cons developed from this community meeting in October.  Here is the initial draft pros and cons. Then the board will see if Amendment 73 passes or not, as that could change the funding options for the different solutions.  The board will talk about it more in December and will hold a January community meeting to vote on accepting DLR's facility plan as presented.

That plan will guide administration in developing action steps to ensure the district is proactively ready to accomplish meeting community expectations.

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