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Dolores School Board approves architect for health clinic

After much discussion, school board passes $55,000 architect proposal
Casey McClellan listens as Montezuma County Clerk and Recorder Kim Percell reads out election results on Nov. 7.

The Dolores School Board on Thursday approved Tim Flanagan for the architect position for the construction of a school-based health clinic.

The board members were presented the packet about Flanagan at the same meeting they were set to approve him. Costs were estimated at $55,000.

Board Vice President Rebecca Frasier was vehemently opposed to approving the plan without having read it first.

Frasier’s newly elected replacement, Casey McClellan, also was in attendance and agreed.

“As a new board member,” McClellan said, “I would personally like some time to look at this, so I am thinking it is to the board’s advantage to have a little bit of time to look this over.”

The district’s owner’s representative, Jim Ketter, stated that Flanagan’s proposal was the only one the district received, and he is the only qualified local candidate.

“I have done $650 million in construction work, and most of that has been public money, federal money. Almost always, you’re going to have a qualification requirement that says the applicant will be qualified to do what you are asking them to do” Ketter said. “My fee would have probably been triple if it had not been someone who had designed a school-based health clinic before.”

Ketter also said that he understood the board members wanting to do their due diligence, but that he was tasked with making sure the project fit the budget and the schedule. According to Flanagan’s plan, the center would fulfill both requirements.

Board President Linnea Vass said that she had worked with Ketter before and trusted his judgment as the owner’s representative.

Superintendent Scott Cooper also had concerns about losing the architect.

“We can debate the minutia of all these dates for a long time, but at the end of the day, we have an awesome opportunity here to provide an awesome service for our families and our kids and boost academics and attendance,” Cooper said. “Nothing in life is for free, but this is about 90 percent free through this grant.”

Director Dee Prock said that without experience in construction, she cannot judge the plan herself.

“I am relying on the people who are looking at this who have done this in the past, who have the experience, to say, ‘This seems like a good fit,’” Prock said.

When taken to roll call vote, the motion passed, 3-2.

The board also discussed new programs that the school is looking at to broaden opportunities for students.

Jen Gaddis and Assistant Fire Chief Shawn Bittle, of Cortez Fire Protection District, presented a “Fire Science Course” for students. The program would allow the students to gain credit hours while also training to be a first responder, if they so choose.

“When they have the successful completion of this course, they can literally go into any state in the U.S. and walk in and be like, ‘I want to be a firefighter,’ and they are certified and meet all national standards to be a certified firefighter,” Bittle said.

Dolores Schools Secondary School Principal Jenifer Hufman reported on new bullying prevention taking place in the district.

“The goal is prevention – so teaching students to understand what bullying is, why it happens and how they can empower themselves to not be impacted by it,” Hufman said. “While we still address incidents of bullying as they come up, that has been really successful.”

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