SVVSD starting construction on new building for Mead Elementary
By Amy Bounds, Daily Camera
St. Vrain Valley School District’s original plan was to replace the aging Mead Elementary School building in pieces over time, starting by replacing a classroom addition with a wood floor in need of repair.
But with other capital construction projects included the district’s $260 million bond issue package going smoothly, there was enough money available from unused contingency funds and bond sale premiums to bump up the school’s $8 million renovation budget to the $24 million needed to rebuild the entire school.
A groundbreaking for the new building is set for next week, with construction continuing through the school year. Students will stay in the current building while the new one is built on another part of the school site. The new building is expected to open in fall 2020.
“Our goal is to provide equitable schools across the district,” said Brian Lamer, assistant superintendent of operations.
Approved by voters in 2016, the bond issue is paying for both new buildings and additions and improvements to existing schools. The district so far has spent or encumbered about $176 million, or about 65%, of the bond issue.
Lamer said Mead Elementary’s original building dates back to 1929. Additions include a classroom wing built in the early ’70s using an open classroom model. The space later was filled in to create more traditional classrooms, but they are smaller than the district standard.
The 49,000-square-foot school also doesn’t meet all the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements for access, the front office is too far from the entrance and there are two portable classrooms to accommodate all the students.
The new 70,000-square-foot building will have more kindergarten and preschool classrooms, a new music room that opens up to a movement plaza, an art room that leads to an outdoor patio, a maker space and a larger gym and cafeteria.
Rick Ruffino, the district’s executive director of construction and maintenance, said replacing the building piecemeal would have cost about $10 million more than the rebuild and required staying within the same general confines of the current building.
“A rebuild really gave us the ability to reconfigure the classrooms,” he said.
Altogether this summer, the district has about a dozen bond projects under construction.
Those include major renovations at Main Street School and Longmont High School, which are expected to take two years to complete. Skyline High and Mead Middle schools also are getting classroom additions, while major reconstruction inside Niwot High’s building is starting.
Completed projects include a new districtwide Innovation Center in south Longmont, the new Soaring Heights pre-K-8 school in Erie and the new Grand View Elementary school in Frederick’s Wyndham Hill neighborhood. All three opened in the fall.