According to preliminary survey results, members of the public don’t want to see the retired Montezuma-Cortez High School building on Seventh Street repurposed for another use.
Kemper Elementary Principal Jamie Haukeness revealed some initial results of an online survey on the high school at the Board of Education meeting Tuesday. Haukeness, who also is executive director of facilities and school safety for the Re-1 school district, organized a task force made up of citizens, school staff and public officials to investigate options for the retired high school. The task force aims to recommend a plan for the building to the Board of Education by the end of the school year next month.
The task force, which met April 14, is split into four subcommittees. Those groups are studying district finances, the possibility of repurposing the building, potential demolition and long-term plans for the facility.
“They did a lot of homework,” Haukeness said of the subcommittees.
The survey, which can be found online on the district’s website, will be open for a few more weeks, Haukeness said. A majority of respondents said the building should not be repurposed for district offices or another use, Haukeness said. However, respondents were split almost evenly among whether or not the district should remove asbestos and demolish the building or leave it standing.
A majority, though, said funding that has been set aside for a new Panther Stadium should not be used to pay for demolition, Haukeness said.
The district has $1.8 million available for a new stadium. Some have proposed using that money to pay for the demolition. Re-1 Finance Manager Wendy Everett said Tuesday that an attorney advised the district to ask the voters if that money could be used for demolition instead of a new stadium. But Everett said the district would not need to put that to a vote.
Some grant money may be available to offset project costs, but grants wouldn’t cover the entire cost, Everett added.
Re-1 Human Resources Director Dan Porter, who is leading the task force subcommittee examining long-term possibilities for the retired building, said Tuesday he discovered that most people like the current Panther Stadium, which is on the Cortez Middle School campus on Second Street.
“There’s lots of love for Panther Stadium,” Porter said.
Porter said time is not on his subcommittee’s side, though. He said the members will be forced to make a decision before they have enough time to explore all the options and ideas they have before them, he said.
“There are lots of great ideas,” Porter said.
Also Tuesday, the board discussed the district travel policy. Though the consensus among the board members was that it needed to be revised, the board did not take a vote to change it. They discussed increasing the mileage allowed for school trips to 700 miles for one-way trips and 1,400 miles round-trip. The current policy also states that 30 days notice is required in order for the board to approve school trips, but board members discussed including a policy provision to waive the 30-day notice requirements if a “unique educational opportunity” presents itself.