DENVER – The Colorado Board of Education approved more than $193 million in grants for construction projects across the state Thursday.
Included in the list of 28 projects were two for Durango School District 9-R and one for Mancos School District Re-6.
Durango requested funding for asbestos abatement efforts at Fort Lewis Elementary, which began earlier this month, and a partial roof replacement at Needham Elementary.
The two projects are estimated to cost $338,000. About $125,000 of that will come from the Building Exceptional Schools Today grants distributed by the Board of Education.
The Mancos School District received a $19 million grant for major renovations to its K-12 campus. The renovations include replacing failing systems such as plumbing and HVAC, updating security infrastructure and connecting the elementary school to the district cafeteria to allow pre-kindergarten to fifth-grade students safe access.
Among other items, the project will also expand the cafeteria to allow for adequate storage of food and kitchen equipment and establish a safe bus loop so children no longer have to cross multiple lanes of traffic to get to school.
But the grant funding is dependent on the district’s ability to pass a bond measure this year to pay the nearly $5 million it is required to match.
All projects approved for the BEST program must put forward matching funds, but the amounts vary across districts based on a set of seven criteria, said Jim Owens, director of CDE’s Capital Construction Office.
These criteria include the overall value of the district’s infrastructure, median income of the area, percentage of students on free and reduced lunch and how successful the district has been in acquiring permission for bond measures in the previous 10 years.
“All of that information is collected and is laid out in an algorithm that then results in the calculation of a percentage,” Owens said.
This match requirement generally falls between 25 percent and 75 percent, but there are outliers such Mancos, which is required to match 20 percent of total expenditures.
The state board approved a number of alternate projects should the Mancos district or any other bond-dependent projects fail to pass a measure to fund their portion.