The Montezuma-Cortez school board on Tuesday selected two firms for the demolition of the retired high school, but there’s one more hurdle to jump before the walls come down.
Montezuma-Cortez Re-1 district officials are waiting for a report from Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment that will reveal specific information about the asbestos content in the building. After receiving the report, asbestos abatement and demolition should start quickly, Re-1 Superintendent Lori Haukeness said.
School board President Jack Schuenemeyer said the state report could make a significant difference in the cost of the asbestos abatement contract.
“We’re proceeding as rapidly as we can,” Schuenemeyer said. “It’s not a simple process.”
The asbestos abatement contract will be awarded to Colorado Hazard Control, of Denver. The demolition contract went to Iron Mountain Demolition, of Colorado Springs.
Owner’s representative Jim Ketter said the district received three bids for demolition and eight for asbestos abatement, including proposals from out-of-state companies. The firm with the lowest proposal was selected for abatement and demolition, he said.
Negotiations are ongoing, so district officials have not yet made the amounts of the bids public, Ketter said. So far, all the awarded work has been within budget, he said.
Before selecting the firms, board members, district administrators and owner’s representatives discussed the proposals in a closed executive session that lasted about an hour.
In the public session, board member Pete Montano said the board was not trying to hide anything from the public and decided to go over the bids in a closed session because the district is waiting for more information from the state Public Health and Environment department.
Jamie Haukeness, Re-1 director of facilities and school safety, said Tuesday he hopes to see the process begin within the next few weeks. Ketter said he was optimistic that the work would get done this summer, though officials have said it could extend into fall.
Other school newsLori Haukeness gave an update on school security at Pleasant View and Lewis-Arriola, the district’s two rural elementary schools. She said a school safety team inspected the buildings and plans to recommend purchasing window security screening for the two schools at a future board meeting. Installation of the screens would cost about $4,000, Haukeness said.
At a meeting last year, school board members briefly discussed arming administrators with firearms, but they have not made a decision. Haukeness said she plans to meet with Cortez Police Chief Roy Lane to discuss the matter, and district officials were gathering information from administrators at Pleasant View and Lewis-Arriola.
Also at the meeting, board members voted to accept a $2,700 supplementary budget item from Ohio State University for a math program grant. They also voted to add another step to the district teacher salary schedule that sets salaries for teachers with a master’s degree and 60 credit hours of continued education.
Board members briefly discussed plans to formulate a three-year strategic plan for the district in the next few meetings. They also will discuss a potential mill levy override, which would be used in part to raise teacher salaries in the district.
Counselors in the district are creating a comprehensive program regarding bullying policies, according to Assistant Superintendent Dan Porter’s report to the board. Counselors also will make recommendations on training for teachers to effectively implement the program, according to Porter.