PSD uses extra time from bond delay to refine project plans based on community needs

The delay in implementing the 2016 Bond has given PSD the opportunity to refine some of its project plans based on community need, PSD staff told the Board of Education on Tuesday.

Construction on projects outlined in the 2016 Bond have been delayed by ongoing litigation. PSD has prevailed in all five lawsuits to this point, and the case is currently before the Colorado Supreme Court. If the Court declines to review the latest decision, the District will be able to sell the bonds, start designing the new schools and continue improvements to existing campuses. 

The District expects this decision to be rendered at any time.In the interim, PSD is working on its Long-Range Facilities Plan.

During Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting, PSD staff updated the Board of Education on a few proposed changes to the plan. These changes include: 

Southeast elementary school:

PSD staff is moving forward with designing new southeast elementary (instead of having the architects replicate Bethke Elementary) 

  • With the delay in construction and stability of construction costs, the District can design a new building within the current timeline and open in August 2021 (pending the resolution of current litigation). 
  • A new design will allow for innovative use of space to align with new instructional methodology and best practices.

Construction of the two new middle/high schools:

PSD staff talked to the Board about the possibility of building the two new middle/high schools (one in Wellington and one on Prospect Road east of I-25) at the same time, instead of phasing them in over two years. This would allow the District to open both schools as quickly as possible.

The size and opening date of each campus will be determined when official construction contracts are awarded, sometime in 2020 (pending resolution of current litigation). This provides the District flexibility to adjust for individual campus needs based on enrollment and projected growth in real time.

Creation of a centrally located “Futures Lab:”

Staff also introduced the possibility of creating a Futures lab to house technical and career-based education that would available to all high school students.

  • The Futures Lab would be a small stand-alone campus with a focus on technology, innovation, career-oriented courses and other advanced programming. Individual high schools often cannot afford to offer these types of advanced courses because a limited number of students at each school want to take them.By offering these courses at a central location, the District can make them available to all high school students in an efficient and cost-effective way. 
  • Funds for this facility would be allocated when available. New school construction and the $40 million in improvements to existing schools will be budgeted and allocated before any additional dollars are committed to the Futures Lab. PSD will also ask interested businesses to help support this endeavor financially. 

Updating the list of $40 million in improvements to existing campuses:

  • The amount of money ($40 million) allocated to these projects through the bond program has not changed.
  •  However, some of the projects on the initial list of improvements have been completed through PSD’s ongoing maintenance program.
  •  The District will work with school principals to identify which projects have already been completed so additional projects can be added to the improvement list.

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