E. Grand district offers better buildings for charter school | SkyHiNews.com

E. Grand district offers better buildings for charter school

Will Bublitz
Sky-Hi Daily News

A couple of interesting proposals on finding a permanent new home for Indian Peaks Charter School were raised at Tuesday’s meeting of the East Grand Board of Education.

The issue of finding that home for the district’s only charter school became an issue a couple of weeks ago when the Indian Peaks board of directors asked the school board for $450,000. That money would come from the premium earned on the sale of bonds from the East Grand School District’s $18.25 million bond issue approved by voters in the Nov. 6 election.

The charter school wants the $450,000 to purchase a lot in Tabernash, where it proposes to move its modular classrooms from the Granby it has been at for the past eight years. The money would also pay for the purchase of land and the construction of a permanent basement/lower level on which the modulars would sit.

The school board has indicated it would prefer the charter school remain in Granby where its facilities could be upgraded. Acting upon that general consensus, Superintendent Robb Rankin presented at two new proposals at Tuesday’s regular board meeting.

The first was to replace the charter school’s current modulars with improved and more permanent classroom facilities. Rankin said he had been in contact with a company called Advanced Modular Systems that builds cube-style classrooms.

Rankin suggested the district could purchase as many as six of the Advanced Modular classrooms that could be arranged in a U-shaped pattern. They could then be constructed atop a permanent basement that would provide additional space for accessible indoor restrooms, storage and other work space. He suggested the total cost for all this would be “probably less than $400,000.”

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The superintendent’s second proposal was about how to fund the purchase of the Advanced Modular classrooms and pay for the other construction costs. Instead of funding it with bond premium money, Rankin recommended using money-in-lieu-of-land funds that should become available in early 2008 after the Grand County Commissioners give their approval in January to two major subdivision projects, Sterling Point Condominiums and The Ridge.

“The funding for the Indian Peaks project would not be taxpayer funds from the bond premium,” Rankin said. “Instead, the money would be gained from developers.”

In presenting these proposals, Rankin said they could solve the charter school’s facilities needs for years to come.

“It would provide Indian Peaks with a permanent structure and home,” he said. “It would be a facility that we as a district could feel good about.”

In presenting these proposals, Rankin explained he is basing them on the assumption that the charter school will remain in Granby and probably on its current location, which is on property already owned the East Grand School District.

Rankin acknowledged the charter school’s complaints about the site as being too windy, but pointed out that it is on the same ridge as East Grand Middle School and Middle Park High School. Also, he said the charter school would have first priority in use of the new indoor soccer facility currently being built about 100 yards away.

Indian Peaks had two representatives at Tuesday’s meeting ” Principal Polly Gallagher and Tim Koepke, president of the charter school’s board of directors. Both said they still believed strongly in the plan to move Indian Peaks to Tabernash.

However, Koepke left open the possibility of an agreement by saying they might be interested if the district’s final proposal were “equal or better than the Tabernash site.”

He also said he expected to be “kept in the loop” on any proposals being made by the district and wanted “input” before any final decisions were made.

Rankin and school board members have balked at Indian Peaks’ longstanding plan move to Tabernash for several reasons. One of their problems with the request was the proposal by the charter school to spend $220,000 of their requested $450,000 to purchase the 1.13-acre site when district-owned property already existed in Granby.

Other objections raised to Indian Peaks’ plan included the purchase of the Tabernash site would require the district under state law to become the landowner instead of the charter school.

Another problem is that Tabernash does not offer “amenities” such as playgrounds, libraries and other facilities that students could use such as those offered in towns such as Granby, school district officials said.

After hearing the discussion Tuesday, school board President Tom Sifers directed Rankin to “push ahead” with the proposals by getting specific details about Advanced Modular System classrooms. He also wanted another alternate site in Granby thoroughly checked out if the current location turns out to be unusable.

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