Del Norte School prepares for next steps

DEL NORTE— Del Norte Superintendent Chris Burr and a team of local residents, staff members and school board members are getting ready to make the next step in a long process in building Del Norte a new school. According to Burr, the next step will be to choose a contractor that will help with the design phase of the project and the district will be holding several meetings with the public to make sure that they have a say in how the school will be designed.

On Nov. 7, the district passed a bond issue that will raise taxes for those that live within Rio Grande County by about $100 for a home with a $100,000 market value. This bond is estimated to last an average of 20 years for the residents of the county and will go towards the $18 million needed to complete the project.

The school received nearly $45 million from the BEST grant program and is one of two districts here in the Valley that will be building a new school; Saguache is also on the docket for a new building to replace Mountain Valley.

There are nine people on a selection committee comprised of residents, school board members and staff members who have spent the last month choosing an owner’s representative, in case the bond issue passed. NV5 Technical Engineering and Consulting Solutions will provide a consult to the school board to help them make decisions on the project at hand and work with the contracting company to make sure the communities needs are met.

Next, a design committee, made of 13 members of the same diversity, will gather to select the best contracting company that meets the budget requirements for the project. Once the committee has looked over the closed bids from several companies, the group will choose one to move forward with the design phase.

“The most important thing we are looking for is a company that is going to stick to our budget,” said Burr.

Once the company is announced, the committee will host a series of meetings to get a feel for what the public wants in their school.

“We will continue to keep the public involved in all the phases of this project. Anyone wanting to be involved just needs to pay attention to announcements that will be published on our website and in the local paper,” explained Burr.

The next steps include building a committee dedicated to the design phase, creating a design model and then hosting large scale meetings before anything goes further. Though a design was presented during the campaign for the bond, Burr stated that particular design was not ever official. “The design will be completed through public input and a partnership with the contracting company of our choosing,” he stated.

Continuing on the topic of the bond campaign, Burr stated that he and the entire school district want to thank the people who worked so hard to help the bond issue pass. “It was because of the hard work those people put in that the bond even had a chance, and we want to say thank you.”

Upcoming meetings have not been scheduled yet, but will be posted on the school’s website and printed in the local paper.