Mancos school project encounters setbacks

Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018 5:40 PM
Owner’s representative Monty Guiles leads a group through the construction area that will be the administration offices in the high school.

The 2018-19 school year is off to a good start despite construction projects throughout the campus, elementary and secondary principals told the Mancos school board Monday.

Dean of Students Heath Showalter reported a “good energy on the campus” even though construction near the front of the school, among other places, forces longer walks around the perimeter fences to get into some buildings.

“Everybody’s open-minded and been pretty positive about the construction,” Showalter said. He added that he thinks a lot of the kids and teachers are positively working with the conditions because they know how much better everything will be in a year and a half.

Mancos School District Re-6 Superintendent Brian Hanson said that so far, there have been “no real gripes or headaches” from students, teachers or parents and that everyone is adapting well, but as with any construction project, there have been a few hiccups.

Owner’s representative Monty Guiles updated the board on the construction progress and mentioned that their biggest find recently was that the sewer system is badly in need of renovation. Guiles estimated it to be a $25,000 project, but it’ll fit into the existing budget and won’t change the estimated completion time of the overall construction.

“There’s a contingency fund built into the money that we have,” Guiles said. “It’s only a couple weeks worth of work, so it’ll just go right along with the rest of the site work as though it was planned all along.”

So far, $3.3 million of the $25 million budget has been spent, but Guiles said that everything is going pretty much according to schedule except for the playground. Hanson said he initially hoped it would be down for just about a month, but difficulties in obtaining new equipment have pushed that completion time back. For now, most of the elementary school kids are getting bused to Boyle Park for recesses while the playground is getting worked on.

As of now, the campus has a completed bus loop, new and improved parking along Beech Street and Walnut Street, and the buildings have new utilities. Up next are continued renovations of the historic gym, an addition to the elementary school which ties into the new lunch room and overall site work, Guiles said.

“It’s gonna be fluid. As one piece gets finished, then those fences will get rearranged to secure another piece of the campus,” Guiles said.

In a work session before the meeting, the principals from each school introduced the new staff members to the board and the board discussed some future changes they want to see in their meetings.

The board members recently had a retreat in which they examined their current meeting agendas and system, among other things.

Hanson said he wants to “have the (monthly) meetings focus on student achievement and student performance” and board president Blake Mitchell talked about showing that Mancos is a “high-performing district,” but there wasn’t agreement on exactly how to measure or represent such things that can be hard to explicitly define.

The board members tossed around ideas of reports from students and teachers about the curriculum in addition to academic performance data from the principals, but didn’t settle on anything. They also discussed the future of verifying the accuracy and validity of financial expenditures, wanting to bridge the gap between going through each bill and being efficient.

Board director Tim Hunter brought up the point that the board has a responsibility to be thorough, since public tax dollars are at stake, but no conclusions about examining financial activity were reached, and discussion on the topic was postponed since time in the work session ran out.