Guest Editorial: Meeker schools developing master plan

By Chris Selle
Special to the Herald Times

Chris Selle

RBC | For several months, the Meeker School District has investigated the possibility of developing a facilities master plan. In doing so, a request for qualifications (RFQ) document was developed in cooperation with the Capital Construction Assistance Division at the Colorado Department of Education. The RFQ can be found at meeker.k12.co.us. While viewing this document, you will notice the school district is currently in the process of reviewing responses and interviewing some of the companies that submitted these responses. A committee consisting of a community member, school district staff members, and two school district board members has reviewed submitted proposals. This committee will conduct interviews to select the firm that will provide consulting services needed to develop the final master plan. Per the RFQ, the school district intends to approve the consultant at the regular April board meeting.
Many uses exist for a facilities master plan. However, the most basic explanation of such plan is to identify both short and long term facility needs that can serve as a “road map” leading to excellent school facilities. Additionally, facilities master planning can be a valuable tool to secure grant funding for capital needs. The Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) program is a predominant grant program utilized by Colorado school districts. Though the specific capital needs for the Meeker School District have yet to be determined and quantified, school districts in Colorado often see a return of 10, 20, or even 100 times the cost of a facilities master plan when they apply for and receive BEST grants. Funds for our master plan will come from unused monies in the 2015-2016 budget.
The adopted vision statement for the Meeker School District is “Excellence in All We Do.” This vision is not reserved to specific aspects of our organization. In order to provide the best educational opportunities for our students, we must have and maintain excellent facilities. We know numerous facility deficiencies exist in the school district, and many of these deficiencies can be found at Meeker High School. However, we have not quantified all the deficiencies nor the remedies necessary to address those deficiencies. The facilities master plan will help us do this, and that is why the primary focus of the plan will be on Meeker High School. The plan will also help us be intentional about the appropriate remedies.
Community members should be aware that multiple opportunities to provide input on the facilities master plan will occur in the coming months. It is also vitally important that the Meeker community understand the school district has no predetermined outcome for this process.
Though we know Meeker High School must be the primary focus of the plan, the resulting actions could range from relatively simple procedures on our current buildings to the possibility of an entirely new school. The school district greatly anticipates engagement from our community in the coming months.
What comes from our facilities master plan will attempt be reflective of the diverse opinions in our community. Furthermore, it will help provide a pathway to excellent facilities in which our students learn, giving me one more reason to proclaim I am proud to be a Meeker Cowboy!