Artaic Group overseeing school district facilities expansion project

Next step to hire a design team

By Kendra Walker

During their February 13 meeting, the Gunnison Watershed School District school board met with their new owner’s representative firm Artaic Group, which will oversee the voter passed district facilities improvement and expansion bond project. 

“This is the beginning of a wonderful relationship for the next several years,” said superintendent Leslie Nichols. “We have four campuses all running in various phases of work. Artaic Group has an experienced background with complex projects of this nature. One of the things that stood out in particular was that their team has a real positive culture of decision making and listening. That is also a big part of the culture of our district, and so I’m happy to bring that from the outside, as well as their incredible technical skills.”

Artaic Group representatives Sarah Lara and Chris Guarino explained that Artaic Group specializes in k-12 work. “We’re passionate about it and it’s work we love,” said Lara. Guarino is also a school board member for the Summit School District. 

The team explained that the first step moving forward will be to hire a design team. Last month, architectural firms visited the school district, toured each school and walked through the project’s proposed facilities improvements. The district has received four Request for Qualifications and Proposal (RFQP) submissions, including from the RTA Architects that created the initial facilities improvements plans while the bond was still in development. “The hope is to be back here at your April 10 meeting seeking your approval to award the contract to an architectural firm,” said Guarino. The district will also hire a general contractor as soon as possible, he said. 

Lara and Guarino also stressed how important communication is to them as the district’s representation, and they plan to report to the district’s bond executive committee every two weeks. The bond program executive committee includes Artaic Group, Nichols, board member Dave Taylor, district business manager Tia Mills and facilities and transportation manager Paul Morgan, who will act on behalf of the district to execute the bond program and related projects. 

The Artaic Group representatives also recognized that the bond vote last November was very close. “We want to make sure we are really paying attention to all corners of your community. We want to be stewards of your dollars and manage those dollars responsibly,” said Guarino. “We are here to represent you. We are here to serve the no votes just as much as we are here to serve the yes votes.”

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