There will be a new high school in Cortez.
After voters overwhelmingly approved a school bond, Montezuma-Cortez School District officials and supporters celebrated the news. The bond will pay 48 percent of the cost of the new school.
The new high school will cost a total of $43.95 million. The 162,500-square-foot facility will be located on a 35-acre parcel south of Walmart off Sligo and Seventh streets
Voters approved increasing property taxes by a vote of 5,106 voting for and 3,070 voting against to pay 48 percent or $21.25 million through a 20-year bond. The Building Excellent Schools Today will pick up 52 percent of the cost or $22.7 million
Montezuma-Cortez School District Re-1 Superintendent Alex Carter said the vote was great news for the district.
“I couldn’t be happier for the community and for the generations of Montezuma-Cortez School District Re-1 students who will complete their educations in the new high school,” Carter said. “I know that this high school will be a source of pride for everyone, and will become a physical representation of the commitment to students of Montezuma-Cortez School District Re-1.”
Carter said he looks forward to the next phase of this initiative, which is to design and build a high quality 21st century learning facility for the students of the district.
“This building will help us prepare students to graduate ready for their post-secondary learning and career paths,” he said. “It is very exciting to have the opportunity to positively influence the educational experience of generations of young people of our region.”
Carter said he really wants to thank the community for speaking so loudly in support of the bond initiative and added he cannot think of a better way to invest in the children of the community.
“What is most exciting is what the overwhelming support of the 3B initiative says to me — that Montezuma-Cortez School District has a strong base of support from our community,” he said. “The community really wants to give us every opportunity to do the best job possible educating our students and preparing them for their futures. Now it is up to us to accept the challenge and show our community that we are the right people for the job.”
Carter also thanked the members of the Cortez 21st Century High School Committee who worked tirelessly to get the message out to voters that the 3B bond initative was the best thing for the community.
He said the committee co-chairs Becky Brunk and Orly Lucero gave so much of themselves to the effort over the last four months, and they and all of the members of the committee deserve a huge round of thanks from those who know that this new school will help them realize the vision of becoming a beacon of educational excellence in Southwestern Colorado.
According to school district officials and the 3B bond committee, a new high school is needed because the current school has security and safety issues, lack of adequate heating/cooling infrastructure, lack of space and lack of modern technology.
Athletic facilities are included in the new high school plan and will be located next to the new building, which will also have energy-saving attributes due to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certifications.
On June 28, the school district was informed that they had been awarded the BEST grant contingent upon Re-1 coming up with a matching grant.
The Cortez 21st Century High School Committee received more than $22,000 in contributions to promote and campaign for the passage of the bond.
The huge support and vote was in direct contrast to last year when voters rejected a property tax increase for the Southwest Open Charter School with 2,322 people voting against, and 1,812 voting for the measure.
There was also good news for the Dolores and Mancos school districts.The 3C bond election in Dolores won with 1,415 voting for the tax increase with 808 voting no. The Mancos mill levy — 3A — was approved by a vote of 1,082 for the initiative with 684 in opposition.