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District 25 closes deal on school site
Jan 16, 2014 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer
An expedited plan could allow the new school to be open by 2016.
Fremont County School District 25 handed over a check Jan. 2 for the purchase of the 16-acre lot on 1200 W. Monroe Ave. which will be the site for Riverton's new elementary school.
Superintendent Terry Snyder described the transaction during Tuesday's school board meeting.
The Wyoming School Facilities Commission in October approved roughly $400,000 for the district to buy the property from the Gard family behind Rein Park on the south side of Riverton.
With a new school, intended for completion in 2016, the district hopes to meet a 16:1 student-to-teacher ratio requirement set by the state several years ago. Capacity reports done for the Riverton schools showed the district needed more classrooms because, at 18:1, the rule was not being met.
Rendezvous Elementary was renovated in 2012 to bring the district closer to compliance in the lower grades. Snyder said two more modular units for that school to accommodate an even greater number of students expected for the next school year.
Among available options in the city, district officials chose the Monroe Avenue site to facilitate traffic flow and spread out the schools. By the end of this week, the district wants to receive bids from contractors.
On Monday, members of the Collaborative Facilities Committee that was formed by the district to help in planning and for public input of school projects will review the proposals to narrow the options. Snyder said the District has established criteria to help guide the process. The committee is composed of school staff, community members and district parents. Choices will be ranked through a scoring system.
Before any recommendation is submitted by the school board to the SFC on Feb. 19, the school board and committee will visit other schools to help them decide which building prototype to use. Six to nine months will be taken out of the planning and construction phase if the district chooses a facility design that already is in use in Wyoming. Visiting the schools will be beneficial, Snyder said, because looking at a blueprint can be very different from seeing the actual structure.
"This building we know is going to be here for 50, 60 years," he said. "We want to make sure it's a good building for us, our kids and our community."
If an existing design proves to be possible, Snyder said, the new school can open its doors by the fall of 2016 instead of a tentative date of January 2017.
"We're going to shoot for that," Snyder said, adding that District 25 would prefer not to have an opening in 2017 during the school year. "We need the classrooms as soon as we can get them."
Snyder hopes site preparation can begin on the lot as soon as this summer.
Once the new school is built, Riverton will have four K-3 buildings, and Rendezvous will revert to a 4-5 school.
Snyder said the district is working closely with the city to make sure all easement, gutter, and sidewalk requirements are met.
The district plans to construct paved road from Monroe Avenue west to Major Avenue, and from Major Avenue north to Riverview Road.
Snyder said plans call for placing the school on the southern portion of the purchased property. The Gard family has donated property to allow for the east-west egress.
Jan. 16 -- bids for new school on Monroe Avenue due from contractors
Jan 27 -- Collaborative Facilities Committee will review bids and score best options
Jan 27-31 -- Committee and school board to visit other schools in state
Feb. 5 -- Once committee narrows down a short list of chosen contractors, they will be interviewed on the proposals they submitted
Feb. 11-- Committee will present recommendations to school board; school board to approve final bid
Feb. 19 -- Superintendent will present final bid to the Wyoming Schools Facilities Commission