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Mancos schools present upgrade plan to state this month

Designer Rebecca Colbert explains plans for a new playground at Mancos Elementary School in November. The playground is part of a larger campus upgrade plan.

As they prepare for a grant presentation on a proposed campus upgrade, Mancos school officials are promising transparency and honesty.

Superintendent Brian Hanson and school board members are set to present their plan for a $25 million upgrade to the Colorado Department of Education’s Building Excellent Schools Today board on May 18.

They will have two minutes to present, Hanson said at a public meeting April 27. There are about 30 projects, and the Mancos project is the largest, he said. The school will be notified in June whether they have been awarded the grant.

Hanson said the board heard people suggest they bulldoze buildings and start again from the ground up. He said they decided not to because of costs and, in part, nostalgia.

“The history of this community makes this a beautiful campus,” Hanson said.

The proposed renovations include improvements to all the buildings on campus, including connecting some buildings to allow for safer student travel. The Performance Center will be optimized for music performances, and the historic gym will be upgraded to a varsity-level facility. The proposal also calls for a new elementary school playground and an athletic field.

If the district is awarded the BEST grant, the next step is a bond issue campaign for November’s election. If all goes to plan, construction will start next spring and last two years, Hanson said.

Board member Pam Coppinger said at the April 27 meeting that the community had been burned before on school upgrades, including the 1992 performance center addition. She said that wouldn’t happen again.

“We have to be honest,” she said.

One of the board’s top priorities for the process will be transparency, board members said. Board President Blake Mitchell echoed Coppinger’s comments, saying there would be no dishonesty.

“You won’t be misled,” he told the small audience at the meeting.

Mitchell said the infrastructure in the buildings also will be upgraded, including electrical wiring and internet.

Hanson said if the district is awarded the BEST grant, there will be many more meetings. The district also would need volunteers to serve on an outreach and planning committee for the bond campaign. Neither he nor board members would be able to serve on a committee, Hanson said.

Audience members at the meeting said they were impressed with the district’s plan and hoped the construction period would bring a boost to the local economy.

Hanson said he felt confident about the district’s chances of securing the BEST grant. He said they will stress the connectivity of the project during the presentation.

“One thing leads to another,” he said.


If you go

The Mancos School District will host a final public outreach meeting regarding the campus upgrade plan, on May 8 at 7 p.m. in Room 503 of the West Wing, the board’s regular meeting room.

The school’s senior awards ceremony will take place in the Performance Center at 6 p.m., before the meeting.