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School’s out for summer…or is it?

Increased CBCS facility use means balancing the needs of students with the community

By Olivia Lueckemeyer

For nine and a half months each year the Crested Butte Community School (CBCS)acts as a full-time educational facility, providing students with the space and tools necessary to achieve academic success. While summer break provides a welcomed interruption for students, for the largest building in Crested Butte, June through August is as hectic a time as any.

Hired by the school district to manage the facility’s operations this summer, high school athletic director Julia Kidd explained that due mostly to the introduction of the Summer Experience program, CBCS saw a slight increase in activity this season compared to previous years.

“It was kind of tricky, especially for the first time, having summer school going on, which meant there were fewer rooms available,” Kidd said. “In general, I think it worked pretty well.”

As a community school, CBCS is an important resource for the town. Each year, events such as the Wildflower Festival, the Public Policy Forum, and the Crested Butte Music Festival use the facility which requires a certain amount of space but is still manageable for the facility. Other events, such as Ride the Rockies and the Bike Tour of Colorado also utilize the building, but in the past these events have rotated annually. This year, the events were concurrent.

In addition to the influx of events, money gained from the recent mill levy override allowed for the first-ever Summer Experience program, which took place two days a week from 9 a.m. to noon over a six-week period. Fortunately, Kidd explains, the building was still large enough to accommodate the increase in programs.

“Even though Summer Experience was going on throughout all of this we were really able to keep the kids at the elementary end and everyone else at the other end,” Kidd said. “The students really weren’t impacted by [the other programs].”

Though the facility itself was able to handle the volume, issues surfaced concerning upkeep. In the past, CBCS had five summer janitors to clean and maintain the building, but this year, due to a lack of staff, it had only one full-time janitor. In response, the district contracted a night crew to help with deep cleaning.

“It’s been really hard in Crested Butte when there are only so many people for so many jobs,” Kidd said. “We only had one janitor full-time, so he was run pretty hard. Still, the facility was cleaned every day. We made it work.”

The cost of maintaining the building throughout the summer was covered by various sources. According to Kidd, each program that used the building was charged $25 per hour in rent for smaller classrooms, and $50 per hour for bigger spaces, such as the two gyms, the library and the multipurpose room. Overall, business manager Stephanie Juneau said, the district received $4,380 in rent from outside entities.

“This simply covers the cost of paying kitchen workers for events like Bike Tour of Colorado, and paying for extra custodial and set-up related to Ride the Rockies, the Wildflower Festival and the Crested Butte Music Festival,” Juneau said.

Additional expenditures, such as the cost of hiring a night cleaning crew, were covered by the general fund and were described by Juneau as a “cost-neutral move.”

In the weeks to come, Kidd is scheduled to sit down with superintendent Doug Tredway to discuss her thoughts on the use of the facility, which she explained as necessary, albeit difficult to manage. For example, preparing the school for the upcoming fall semester is more difficult following such a demanding summer schedule.

“The other tricky part is figuring out how to prepare the school year, so during August everyone is going to have to work really hard to get the facility ready,” Kidd said.

Overall, Kidd explained that since CBCS is the largest building in town, the district does have a responsibility to offer it up as a public space; however, a better balance between the school and outside entities may need to be struck in the future.

“I think it brings a lot to the town, but we have to remember the balance between the school’s function and what it provides for the community,” Kidd said.

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