MSD sells old BLM building, names MHS track for Bob King

MEEKER I The Meeker School Board had a busy agenda on Aug. 5, taking action on items including the sale of the old Bureau of Land Management building on east Market Street and the naming of the running track at Starbuck Stadium for a long-time school official.

Roughly 55 people other than the school board members were in attendance as most gathered due to the report that Meeker High School science teacher Dr. Bob Dorsett said he will not return to MHS this school year because he could not reach an agreement on a contract with district Superintendent Mark Meyer and the board.
(That subject is printed in a separate story because the end result of all the residents speaking in favor of retaining Dr. Dorsett was tabled until this past Monday, when there was a meeting with Dorsett, the superintendent and the school board members.)
In other news, Meeker Elementary School Principal Jason Hightower has been reassigned and a number of coaches at the high school and middle school were approved for hire.
The land for the old Bureau of Land Management Building, located south of Meeker near the intersection of highways 13 and 64, was originally obtained from a private owner who constructed the building. The building and property were given by that owner to the Meeker School District “quite a few years ago,” Meyer said.
“The district has no use for the building and, in fact, it is costing us about $18,000 a year to keep the building going; so the board decided to put the building up for bid,” Meyer said. “It has been mostly vacant over the past years, so the board put the building up for bid in the first week of July.”
Three potential buyers put in bids: Double D of Meeker, owned by Doug Overton; Mark Etchart of Meeker; and Texora, of which Meyer said he knows nothing.
The bid was won by Double D at $90,000, topping the $85,000 bid by Texora and the $75,000 bid by Etchart.
Regarding the high school track, the board members were asked by Debbie Cook if they were interested in naming the current and upcoming new track at Meeker High School in the name of Bob King, a 27-plus-year superintendent with Meeker School District.
Cook said the idea began around the walkathon held earlier this summer to raise funds to redo the entire track at the high school because it had fallen into disrepair.
The Meeker Education Foundation has taken on the task of raising the funds needed to replace the current track, and past MHS athletes, coaches and those tied to program were invited to take part in the walkathon to raise funds for the track. Cook said she then approached King’s son, David, to obtain his permission to approach the school board about the name change, and she said David was quite taken by the idea, offering to pay $10,000 toward the new track if the board approves the proposal.
Cook said she wanted to make it clear that the Kings did not come up with the idea nor was there any attempt to “buy” the name of the track by the family.
“Bob King played a major role around here for a long time,” Cook said. “I think it is quite appropriate we name the track after Bob.”
Cook said King was very strict with the budget and was always realistic about what could and could not be done. He was an avid supporter of kids in sports, art and band from the elementary on up. He personally was very involved with track as he coached many years and was always the meet director at all track meets in Meeker and often throughout the state because he was so meticulous about details.
In the 1980s, King applied for mineral leasing mitigation and development oilfield trust funds, and those were the funds used to build the Tartan track, Cook said, adding that due to King’s organizational skills and having a beautiful facility, Meeker hosted many track meets for the Western Slope and was awarded the privilege of hosting not only the district meets but the state qualifying meets.
Board members discussed whether the offer of the money was, indeed, a way for the King family to buy Bob King’s name for the track. Cook said the naming of the track did not originate with the King family but that she thought the idea was a good one to honor a man who had done much for the district, including building the track in the first place amid controversy because many residents thought the money would be better spent elsewhere.
After the discussion, the board voted unanimously to name the track the “Bob King Track at Starbuck Stadium.”
In other action, Meyer said there had been an assignment change within the district in which Jason Hightower, the principal of Meeker Elementary School, would be transferred to the district office into the position of administrative executive assistant to the district.
In turn, Kathy Collins, who has been administrative executive assistant, was reassigned as principal at the elementary school.
Hightower has been facing cancer issues since last school year, and he was present at the board meeting on Aug. 5, talking to many people at the meeting and answering questions posed by the board and audience.
In other action, the board “approved for hire” several high school and middle school coaches for the upcoming year.
Those approvals include: Janae Stanworth as MHS head volleyball coach, Keely Winger as MHS assistant volleyball coach, Layne Pearce as MHS volunteer volleyball coach, Marty Casey for MHS cross-country coach, Kris Casey as MHS volunteer cross-country coach, Terrence Casias as MHS volunteer cross-country coach, John Strate as MHS volunteer cross-country coach, Roxie Chintala as Barone Middle School head volleyball coach, Greg Chintala as middle school assistant volleyball coach, Darby Finly as middle school head football coach, Rick Dodds as volunteer MHS softball softball coach and Briana Williams as volunteer head high school softball coach.
Mary Strang of the Meeker Education Foundation also reported that the foundation has received roughly $37,000 in a grant from the Freeman E. Fairfield Foundation to help pay for school necessities not budgeted.