Steamboat Springs The group studying the facilities needs of the Steamboat Springs School District voted Tuesday to move forward with hiring a Denver Public Schools demographer to conduct a new district demography report.
The Community Committee for Education, or CC4E, is hopeful the district will cover the $3,120 cost, plus potential travel expenses, to hire Jim Looney, who is the Denver Public Schools manager of planning.
Looney would provide a five-year kindergarten through 12th grade forecast and study the number of students associated with various housing types and locations.
Committee members are interested in comparing the report to a 2014 report prepared for the district by Western Demographics.
“I think it’s valuable to have a second opinion,” said CC4E member Kevin Sankey.
CC4E members have questioned the methodology used by Western Demographics to project kindergarten classes.
Superintendent Brad Meeks said he would communicate the committee’s vote to the school board at its meeting Monday and get direction on whether the district would pay for the new report.
Committee members indicated the initial report from Looney would include only forecasted enrollment, but they would likely re-hire Looney in the future to do a more extensive analysis of district growth, depending on the results of his first report.
“We may very well have additional expenses coming,” said CC4E member Karen McRight.
All CC4E members present at Tuesday’s meeting voted in favor of the report, other than Routt County Planning Department Director Chad Phillips, who abstained, citing his absence from many recent meetings.
Several absent committee members also cast “yes” votes via email or phone message prior to the start of the meeting.
Also during Tuesday’s meeting, Sankey updated the committee on the work of the group’s facilities task force, which is reviewing possible future facility sites and assessing current district buildings.
Sankey and CC4E member Chris Johnson recently visited a Utah charter school that was built using nearly the same floor plan as Heritage Christian School west of Steamboat.
Sankey said the school had been renovated for $1.2 million and now held nearly 500 students, although he said he believed the school could hold more than 400 even before a recent addition was completed.
The tour of the building made Sankey view the former Heritage Christian School building in a new light, he said.
“It was really enlightening and really fascinating,” Sankey said.
Heritage Christian School building owners last year offered to sell the building to the district for $9.8 million.
To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow