Good schools bring “right kind of people to town”
With no “show-stoppers” in the first draft of an agreement between the town of Crested Butte and the Gunnison RE1J school district, the main point of contention between town and school officials Monday evening, October 6 concerned energy efficiency in the proposed expansion of the school.
If voters approve issue 3A next month, the school district will construct a major addition to the Crested Butte Community School. The addition would spill onto the current Tommy V baseball field. The town and the school district are forming an agreement whereby the school district would be responsible for moving the field across the road to where the town’s storage barn is located.
During Monday night’s meeting, the Crested Butte Town Council pushed for getting the new building LEED (Leadership in Energy Efficient Design) standards certified. School board president M.J. Vosburg said that while the building would “meet or exceed” the LEED standards, the school board didn’t want to pursue the actual certification because of cost and the fact that the project falls in an undefined category between new construction and a renovation.
“Under the circumstances the LEED certification would be difficult,” Vosburg explained. “I’d like to agree to a third-party verification of meeting LEED standards. We want to build a healthy, energy efficient building.”
Councilperson Skip Berkshire agreed. “It is what is accomplished that is important, as opposed to getting a plaque on the wall,” he said. “I think having third-party verification is okay but we have to agree to the standards and level of performance that are met.”
Mayor Alan Bernholtz was in the same ballpark. “I basically agree with Skip but I think LEEDs can be done,” he said. “This school can be a great example of where everything is headed and I think getting the LEED certificate would be great. I want this to be something the community can be proud of.”
Vosburg promised to attain LEED standards and have them verified by an independent party; the council agreed.
The two entities will work out further details concerning possible road relocations, maintenance of the fields, getting Tommy V field moved as quickly as possible, and having the Board of Zoning and Architectural Review (BOZAR) look over the plans.
While the council approved the skeleton of the agreement, attorneys for the school district and town will add meat to the bones. The agreement will be reviewed by the council at the October 20 meeting. The school board will also review the Intergovernmental Agreement before adopting the document.
The council also passed a resolution supporting passage of the school bond issue. Bernholtz was at first hesitant about the council putting its stamp on the issue but eventually the board passed the resolution unanimously.
“Obviously we all individually support the issue,” he said. “But it is hard to keep asking people to raise their taxes.”
Councilperson Leah Williams said the school was an important asset to town. “Bringing the high school to town allowed Crested Butte to grow,” she said. “It added a good dimension to the community and attracted families to come here.”
Resident Keith Bauer agreed. “It is a substantial tax but good schools bring good people to the community,” he said.
Crested Butte-Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce director Christi Matthews chimed in, saying, “The chamber voted to support this. Good economic development needs strong schools. And strong schools bring good people to the community.”
Bernholtz chuckled at the discussion and explained he was laughing “because I get in trouble and called out when I say we want the right kind of people to come here and now all of you are saying it. But I agree that having a good community school brings in part, the right kind of people to town.”
The rest of the council agreed and passed the resolution of support.