#BuildD60 Status Update: Apr. 17, 2020

posted Apr 17, 2020, 1:13 PM by Anthony Sandstrom
Though District 60 buildings have been shuttered due to the COVID-19 public health crisis, the important work connected to the #BuildD60 Bond Program continues - and everything is still on schedule.

To date, $15 million of the $218 million voter-approved bond funds have been spent, primarily for engineering and design of not only the new construction of East and Centennial high schools - the key projects in the Bond Program - but also for the infrastructural work being done at 11 other District 60 schools. 

Community meetings, citizen group meetings and architectural meetings between District 60 staff and MOA Architects and HGF Architects, Inc. - the architects tasked with designing Centennial and East -  are all being done virtually. 

Until further notice, community town halls, meetings with Centennial and East alumni, and meetings of the Citizens Bond Advisory Committee (CBAC) and the Design Advisory Group (DAG), will take place virtually. 

“We are navigating the virtual world so we can keep the work of our Bond Program moving forward,” District 60 Superintendent Charlotte Macaluso said. “Interestingly, the new virtual meetings have already proved to be successful with a larger number of active participants viewing and engaging with this important dialog.”

The second of five community town halls about the construction of East and Centennial will take place virtually  at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 22 utilizing the District’s Vimeo streaming service.  

“The meeting will be held online and community members will be able to provide input using their cellphones and computers” added Dalton Sprouse, D60’s director of communications. “By streaming this event live, our hope is that more people will have access. It is also very likely that we could gather even more community input by streaming the meeting, which would be great.”

First community town hall (Mar. 5)
On March 5, the community town halls about the design for Centennial and East took place at the Rawlings Library in Pueblo, with between 75-100 people in attendance to learn about 21st-century approaches to designing schools and the learning spaces within. 

In the two-hour informational community town hall, which included video profiles of other newly-constructed schools around the nation, those in attendance got to see examples of what’s possible in new high schools as well as educational trends that fit the fast-changing needs of students in the second decade of the 21st century.

Town hall organizers also sought ideas and feedback from those in attendance, gauging their general interest in some of these trends in educational design, such as shared and open learning spaces, multi-use areas, aesthetics, detached vs. attached campuses, and much more. Utilizing live-voting technology and other interactions, those in attendance were able to immediately give concrete, measurable feedback that representatives from MOA & HGF Architects could incorporate into their notes.

Envisioning a design
When it comes to the architectural team’s task to design schools that address the needs and wants of the community, students and staff, community town halls are just one tool being used.

Visioning meetings with school and district executives, learning services and student support services have been taking place. These meetings have the goal of creating a design that meets current educational goals.

Feedback is regularly gathered from the Design Advisory Group, comprised of a group of administrators, students and community members from each of the two schools. 

In February, individuals from both groups toured three schools in the Denver and Colorado Springs area to see what’s possible and trending in educational designs. 

This work continues amidst the shadow of COVID-19, as all of these meetings and information-gathering sessions can be done online. These online meetings will incorporate ways for individuals to give their feedback directly to the architectural team.

Where we’re at
Architectural work will continue through 2020, at which point the project’s contractor, H.W. Houston Construction, will begin construction of the two schools.

While the construction of East and Centennial are the focal points of the Bond Program, work is already underway for infrastructural improvements being done at 11 other D60 schools.
Minnequa and Highland Park elementary schools will have its electrical system replaced, and on April 9, the District 60 Board of Education approved the contingency payments of $469,000 and $477,000 (10% of the total cost) to get those projects underway. The electrical system replacement will be completed based on District 60 specifications and will be overseen by district staff to make sure the re-wire meets schools’ needs.

Nine schools will have door replacements completed as part of the Bond, and engineering and design is currently underway for that project. In 2017, the State of Colorado passed requirements for school doors that would include new criteria for locking mechanisms that are code-compliant.
A roof replacement is also planned at Highland Park. District 60 is still accepting requests for proposals (RFP) for the Highland Park project. 

District 60 is also pursuing BEST grants that would allow for the construction of new buildings for Sunset Park Elementary and Franklin School of Innovation. The two schools have large price tags for improvements as part of the Bond Program (an estimated $4.76 million and & $6.57 million, respectively), and new construction would not only save those funds, but allow for new construction at a steep discount. 

The selection of the two schools for the BEST grant was not random - it was based on the schools’ high Facility Condition Index (FCI) scores, which is the amount of repairs and repair costs identified for each school compared with the amount of repairs planned in the bond projects for each school. The schools are located in two separate areas of town in neighborhoods that have demographics that support the need to better accommodate families. 

The hearing to award BEST grants was scheduled for May, but the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the timeline back to sometime this summer. 
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