Q: Why is Lake County School District considering a bond program?
A: If our District is awarded a BEST grant in 2019, the Board of Education must seek a bond measure on the 2019 November ballot for the $13.9M (40% match) required by the Colorado Department of Education to receive the BEST grant to help fund a new PK–2 facility at West Park.
Q: When was the last time Lake County School District asked the voters to approve a bond?
A: In 2011, voters approved $11M in matching funding to obtain a $15.1 M BEST grant to fully renovate Lake County High School (serving students in grades 7–12).
Q: What will the bond pay for?
A: The bond would fund $13.9M (40% match) required by the Colorado Department of Education to receive the BEST grant to replace the West Park facility. A new PK–2 school would be constructed at the current West Park site, behind the school.
Q: Why was the West Park PK-2 project prioritized for funding?
A: Although our West Park and Pitts Elementary School facilities are well-maintained, they are deteriorating. The Colorado Department of Education ranks them among the top 10 poorest-condition schools in the state. The District appropriates $80,000 in contingency funding annually for unexpected maintenance issues that, if they arise in these schools, may endanger the health and safety of students, families, and staff.
An independent evaluation by a team of facilities experts concluded that these schools will no longer be able to safely and reliably serve students in the future. The biggest facility challenges include the following:
- Accessibility for people with disabilities
- Energy inefficiency
- Site safety concerns
- Absence of a fire-sprinkler system
- Heating and electrical systems in need of replacement
- Costly professional asbestos mitigation for all major repair projects
Q: How was the community involved in prioritizing the West Park PK-2 project?
A: The PK-2 project was identified and prioritized as part of the Facility Master Plan process the District conducted, managed by the District with input from the Community Visioning Team—comprised of a dozen members, including parents, District staff, high school students, and community members—and the broader Lake County community.
Q: What are the advantages of building a new facility as opposed to repairing/restoring West Park and Pitts?
A: From a financial perspective, repairing two aging facilities or rebuilding one of those facilities to serve all PK-2 students, costs about the same. However, when you factor in long-term cost savings (e.g., utilities) and the benefits of a new building that will serve the community for generations to come, the advantages of rebuilding over repairing are clear.
Q: What are the advantages of having Preschool, Kindergarten, Grade 1, and Grade 2 under the same roof?
A: Research shows that programs and services delivered with a comprehensive, coordinated approach from preschool to primary school lead to better child outcomes. Housing all of these grades in one school will promote continuity and consistency across early childhood and primary school grades in Lake County School District.
Q: What are the District’s priorities in the design and construction of a new PK-2 school?
A: If a BEST grant is awarded and a subsequent voter referendum succeeds, the District will form a Design Advisory Group to work with the community to identify the features desired in a new building. Due to expressed interest, we expect that the new building will include spaces that support student collaboration and enhance our Expeditionary Learning spirit, in addition to a large gym for student and community use.
Q: When would the new PK-2 school open?
A: A new PK–2 school could open in Lake County School District as soon as the 2021–2022 school year.
Q: Will other Lake County School District projects, in addition to the new PK-2 facility, be funded through the bond?
A: Whether the Board of Education will consider other projects for funding is yet to be determined.
Q: How does the community benefit from an investment in schools?
A: According to the National Council on School Facilities, K–12 school buildings and grounds have an impact on our children’s educational success, the health and economic vitality of our communities, and the environment. Further, research shows that high-quality facilities are integral to ensuring equity in educational offerings and opportunities for students.