However, the school’s buildings, at 18 and 25 N. Beech St., have two issues that need to be addressed to bring the school into compliance with building and fire codes, city planner Tracie Hughes said at Tuesday’s council meeting. A door at the school violates the fire code, and part of the facade on one building is deteriorating, she said.
When the council approved the school’s permit last July, residents, business owners and council members had concerns about student safety at the busy downtown location. Some said locating a school there would create parking restraints and traffic backups. The council approved a three-year permit that required a review by the council each March.
Sheek said Tuesday she had observed the school and had visited businesses in the area and talked with owners. She said traffic and parking weren’t being affected by the school, and student safety wasn’t at risk. The location might not be an ideal place for a school, but no major problems exist, Sheek said.
Kiva school board member Nate Seeley, who spoke at the meeting, thanked council members for their support of the school.
“We’ve tried hard to be good neighbors and give something good to that part of the city,” Seeley said.
Seeley said the school board had ordered parts this week to repair the door and was working with its landlord to repair the facade.
For next school year, Kiva is expanding to offer education for students from kindergarten to eighth grade, Seeley said. The target will be 135 students and 18 staff members. Eleven of the staff would be full-time, he said.
Cortez City Manager Shane Hale said he was confident the school would comply with code as soon as possible. He said the school’s pick-up and drop-off system was well-organized.
“The school is holding up its end of the bargain,” Hale said.
City Attorney Mike Green said the council didn’t need to take action unless members wanted to revoke the school’s conditional use permit. The council’s consensus was to continue to allow the school to operate under the permit, so no vote was taken. Councilmember Shawna McLaughlin excused herself from the discussion.
Sheek urged Seeley to fix the two code issues as soon as possible, but she wished Seeley and Kiva school officials well on behalf of the city.
“We hope you have another successful school year,” Sheek said.