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State board endorses $19.8 million for Mancos schools upgrade

BEST grant part of $25 million project
Jacob Klopfenstein/The Journal<br><br>The historic gymnasium on the Mancos School Campus is set to be restored and converted back into a varsity-level facility as part of a $25 million school renovation project.

Mancos School District’s huge campus upgrade project has been recommended for approval by a state board.

The Colorado Department of Education Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) board on May 18 recommended granting the district $19.79 million for the project, which has a total price tag of about $25 million.

“I can’t express how excited we are about this,” Superintendent Brian Hanson said.

“It will be such a needed boost for our district.”

CDE representative Anna Fitzer said the BEST board considered 48 projects in the state for funding, and recommended 28 for approval.

The recommendations will go to the State Board of Education, which may approve the projects or reject the list at its regular meeting next month, Fitzer said.

The board has never rejected the list of projects the BEST board recommended for approval, Fitzer said.

In November’s election, the district plans to ask voters in the community for a bond issue as part of the project.

If passed, the bond will raise an additional $5 million for the upgrades.

According to Hanson, the tax hike would mean an extra $63 per year per $100,000 of assessed value for homeowners in the district.

Mancos Elementary School has been awarded a $110,000 Great Outdoors Colorado grant, which will go toward the project and help fund a school playground.

The district also plans to pursue a second, $375,000 GOCO grant that would pay for upgrades to school’s athletic fields, Hanson said.

School board member Monty Guiles helped present the Mancos project to the BEST board. He said the project was near the bottom of the board’s list and wasn’t set to make the cut.

But board members and CDE staff were able to add two more school projects to the list, including Mancos, he said.

“We cannot say enough about them thinking outside of the box to maximize the number of schools,” Guiles said.

Guiles said credit is also due to grant writer Clara Martinez and architect Dennis Humphries.

The upgrade will allow the fighting Blue Jays to live on for the next few decades, he said.

“It will continue now to be the center of the community for years to come, which is very important to many people,” Guiles said.


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