by Kirk Banghart

On May 28 the Public School Capital Assistance Board narrowed the list of 63 project applications, totaling more than $329 million in project requests, to a total of six approved large projects and two alternate projects. Moffat Consolidated School District was identified and ranked #4 on the entire list based upon facility needs and was recommended for BEST funding!

The recommended BEST grant is in the amount of $11.33 milllion. The grant is contingent upon a local matching money bond in the amount of $4.55 million for a total of $15.8 million.

Over the past year, the Moffat School Board has contracted with engineering and construction firms to audit and price the needed repairs for the Moffat PK-12 School. That audit discovered that the school has more than $9 million in needed repairs. Because of limitations on what our school district can afford to build by law, we are unable to raise the money necessary to address our facility deficiencies. In fact, the most we can raise with our current assessed value is $4.55 million. The State of Colorado recognized the need of districts like ours and developed the BEST program to address these needs.

This is an incredible opportunity to leverage state monies to provide an opportunity for the children of Moffat/Crestone. We will never again get the chance to have the Front Range pay for 2/3 of our school.

The building audit found many issues that will render the building inoperable in the near future.

These issues include:

Crumbling foundation

The 1921 building was found to have critical foundation concerns. The engineers discovered that, due to the soil acidity and the type of concrete used in the original construction, the foundation is under a sulfate attack. The crystals that are created by ground water have, over many years, formed inside the foundation and have disintegrated the foundation walls. In some locations, 18 inch walls are down to 6 inches and there is no way of knowing how long it will take to erode the rest.

Inefficient and failing heating system

Moffat School has 14 different heating systems. Each of these systems is at the end of its life cycle or is way past its expected life. Due to the phased construction of the building, it was discovered that the systems are inefficient and ineffective in some areas of the building. Current code requires that schools use 1/3 fresh air when heating a building in order to keep a high concentration of fresh air and to avoid the recirculation of germs. The current heating system does not meet this requirement.

Erosion of plumbing

Though the building was remodeled in 1993-1997, most of the plumbing was carried over from the 1950s and 1980s systems. These systems have been affected by the same sulfate attack as mentioned earlier. Many of the internal pipes have been eroded or are breaking due to exceeding their life cycle.  During the 2011-2012 school year, the school lost four days of instruction due to old pipes breaking. Also, the school had issues with methane backing up into the school, due to the corrosion of the pipes.

Security concerns

With the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, schools across the country have reviewed their safety procedures. Moffat is no different. In the review of the facility, many deficiencies were discovered that were created due to design flaws of the building. An example of this is the ability to control the entrances and exits of the building. They are compromised, due to the fact that the building was designed in four different phases.

With the incredible hard work of staff, parents and community members, we were able to demonstrate to the Public School Capital Assistance Board what is really happening at the Moffat PK-12 School. Their understanding of these concerns was shown in the way that they voted. The fact is that the Moffat PK-12 School is in the top four schools from across the state that are in need of replacement.

It is now the community’s opportunity to show their understanding of this great opportunity we have been given. On November 5, 2013, registered voters in our school district will have the opportunity to vote on the matching money bond issue to cover 27% of the total cost of the new facility. If the election is successful, the state will provide the remaining 73% of the funding necessary to complete our school; if the election fails, the money will go to one of the alternates waiting in line.