Bond money betters our schools
By Celeste McNeil
In late 2018, Douglas County residents voted to pass 5B which directly led to the Douglas County School District (DCSD) selling $250 million in general obligation bonds. The monies generated by these bonds are integral to the DCSD Master Capital Plan, created in 2019 and projected to be finished in 2024. The Master Capital Plan committee assessed all district structures, properties, assets and projected needs to determine a four-tier system to address building maintenance and other reinvestment projects.
DCSD schools are now benefiting from the bond money as many tier-1 and tier-2 projects have begun this summer. The highest priority projects are focused on district buildings opened prior to 2007. The school improvement projects are anticipated to wrap up by late July before staff and students return to the buildings in early August.
Timber Trail Elementary (TTE) was originally funded by a bond in 2000 and opened in 2003. TTE is getting a new roof and fire alarm system.
Buffalo Ridge Elementary (BRE) was the first school built by DCSD in Castle Pines, funded by a 1993 bond. BRE opened to students in 1997. Tier-1 projects at BRE include a new HVAC system and replacing all associated piping and systems. BRE is also getting some tier-2 projects addressed – new flooring in the kitchen and cafeteria and new paint in the cafeteria. Additional district funding (not part of the Master Capital Plan) provides new desks and chairs for kindergarten classrooms this summer.
Rocky Heights Middle School (RHMS) and Rock Canyon High School (RCHS) were both funded by a 1997 bond, and both schools opened their door to students in 2003. With more than 1,200 students at RHMS and more than 2,300 at RCHS, the daily wear and tear on high traffic areas is a constant battle, despite the dedicated efforts of building engineers, staff, and students.
Like BRE, the RHMS summer improvement projects span tier-1 and tier-2, including new air conditioning tower and control system, fire alarm system upgrade, new floors in the commons (cafeteria/auditorium) and bathrooms, new countertops, sinks and fixtures in bathrooms, new toilet partitions, and new carpet in targeted, high traffic areas. Gym bleachers will also be repaired. Additionally, part of a multi-phase parking lot resurfacing project will begin over the summer.
RCHS has a larger scope of projects, covering tier-1 and tier-2. RCHS will receive an entire new roof, new fire alarms and systems across the whole building, refinishing gymnasium floors in main and auxiliary gyms, modifying all HVAC systems, restriping all parking lots, and repaving the west lot. A larger new construction project – adding additional classrooms to the northwest corner of the existing school – is also set to be completed before students return in August. The new addition will provide space for EMT and Criminal Justice programs, which will expand RCHS’s Emergency Services Career and Technical Education Opportunities program. Like the Fire Science program, these specialized classes are specific to RCHS but are available to students across DCSD. The biotechnology laboratory at RCHS is also getting remodeled and refitted with more advanced equipment for expanded state-of-the-art biotech research capabilities.
RHMS Principal Chris Cooke aptly expressed the excitement and gratitude many DCSD administration and staff feel about this summer’s improvements. “The [updating] work as a result of the 2018 bond will up the game even more and will make a big difference when we return to school for the ‘21-’22 school year!”