Potential Solutions to Accommodate Growth
During the long range planning process, the Long Range Planning Working Group discussed and evaluated various potential solutions to accommodate growth using existing facilities.
Concepts discussed and eliminated:
- Increase class sizes permanently
- Overflow bussing
- Multi-track year round calendar
- Split sessions
- Permanent grade configuration changes
- Cottage schools
- Consolidating with neighboring districts
- Aquatic facilities
Scenarios evaluated and eliminated:
- Convert Kinard Middle School to a neighborhood school
- Create of a shared boundary area between Kinard MS and Preston MS
- Expand Early Childhood/create a feeder system for ECE
- Convert Traut Core Knowledge School to a neighborhood school
- Overflow bussing from Bethke ES and Zach ES to Timnath ES
- Overflow bussing from Preston MS to Boltz MS
- Permanent addition to Riffenburgh ES
- Build (2) elementary schools east of I-25
- Build (1) middle school east of I-25 (Timnath area)
- Replace Wellington MS with a larger, standalone middle school
- Renovate existing Wellington MS to make it larger
- Extensive boundary changes within PSD in the short term
- Convert Fossil Ridge HS football field to a second Athletics complex
- Construct a stand-alone district stadium and one multi-use field at FRHS
Add a swimming pool to the Prospect complex - see below
Aquatic Facility consideration
In follow up to the Superintendent Sandra Smyser's recommendation to not construct an aquatic facility (presented to the Board of Education in April 2016), PSD Board members met with City Council members in May 2016 to discuss the possibility of constructing an aquatic facility together in the future.
City Council members notes:
Construction and cost of ongoing maintenance of competitive aquatic facilities is expensive. Compared to a ball park, for example, aquatic facilities are much more expensive to build and operate and generally are used by fewer people.
City Council members expressed building aquatic facilities for community use does not fall within the purview of PSD. City Council members expressed interest in exploring a partnership with the district or other local entities in the future, but noted that such a partnership would likely take time, developing over several years.
As a general practice, the City does not build recreational facilities with debt funding. Funding is accumulated over time to pay for such facilities. Some City Council members recommended that proponents of aquatic facility construction develop a fundraising plan and present that to the City. Similar proposals were developed for EPIC and the community gardens. They also noted that community members may choose to put items on the ballot as well.
Superintendent recommends not including aquatic facility in plan
Superintendent Sandra Smyser recommends not building an aquatic facility as part of PSD's 2016 Facilities Master Plan. While the district understands the health benefits of swimming and supports student athletes, the district's other facility needs in 54 buildings take priority over a new pool and aquatic facility. This decision was not made lightly, but based on facts noted below.
The aquatic facility would cost $10-$12 million to build (In 2015, PSD high schools had 237 swimmers)
The potential 2016 Bond is capped at $375 million to ensure the district will not increase PSD's current tax rate. Construction of a pool would require the same amount of money to be removed from requested improvements from PSD's current 54 schools, which would take $10-12M from the $40M allocated to deferred maintenance on existing schools. Dr. Smyser is not willing to do that. Note: More than $500M in maintenance and improvement needs have been identified for existing schools.
- Operation and maintenance of the pool would cost upwards of $600,000 - $1 million annually
With a tight budget and ongoing cuts by the state, the district cannot absorb an additional $1 million in annual costs. PSD schools currently have more than $500 million in deferred maintenance needs that are more important than operating a pool.
Logistical concerns regarding City partnership:
- A petition circling the community currently asks PSD to include the facility in the master plan and allocate $8.5 million to build the facility on the site of the City of Fort Collins' planned Southeast Recreation Center. The petition, which has many signatures outside of the district's boundaries, states the city will maintain and operate the pool if the district builds it.
- The proposed partnership, as stated in the petition, raises many concerns for PSD, including the uncertainty that the district can build a facility with taxpayer funds on land PSD does not own, the legalities and risk of having another government entity maintain and operate a pool the district owns and the fact that the majority of users of a pool would be community members, not district swim teams.