MSD track and field rehab funded for future

MEEKER I The Meeker Board of Education on Feb. 17 made a $120,000 commitment toward the resurfacing of Starbuck Stadium track in 10 to 12 years if the effort led by the the Eastern Rio Blanco Metropolitan Recreation and Park District (ERBM) to refurbish the track and football field comes to fruition.

The statement of commitment stated, “As a board and stewards of taxpayer properties, we will continue our protocol of maintenance that has allowed the (track and field) to survive far beyond its useful life. We are also committed to maintaining $120,000 in the district capital reserve fund … and depositing 20 to 25 percent of all proceeds from the sales of district buildings toward the foreseen resurfacing of the track in 10 to 12 years.”
The initial rebuild of the track and field is projected to cost $816,000 with ERBM providing $400,000, fund-raising by the Meeker Education Foundation supporting $50,000 of the effort, and a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado (GoCo) supplying $350,000. No school district funds are included in the near term.
The GoCo grant request, written largely by Mary Strang, president of the Meeker Education Foundation, is being resubmitted this month. ERMB’s first submission resulted in encouragement from GoCo staff, but also some hard questions that have now been answered. Strang said, “The critical aspect of this project for the school district is that the dollars involved are ‘recreation’ dollars that cannot be used for the classroom and, conversely, no classroom dollars are going into the track and field.”
Several board members testified that the track is nearly unusable and very unsafe at this point and that the drainage of the football field needs to be redone with current technology.
Schmueser Gordon Meyer Engineers and Surveyors of Meeker is making an in-kind donation of up to $15,000, according to Strang, and that firm will be doing the engineering, design and oversight work on the project.
ERBM is looking to expand its programs using the track and field if this critical improvement can be accomplished. Strang gave many kudos to interim ERBM Executive Director Dondi Glasscock for her vision and push on the project.
The track needs to be composed of two very different layers. One is the asphalt underlay and the other is the synthetic running surface. It’s this synthetic surface that will need to be replaced in 10 to 12 years for which ERMB wanted the district’s financial commitment as well as their agreement to maintain the facilities.
In other business, the board approved the calendar for the 2015-2016 school year. The calendar is very similar to this year’s with 165 total teacher days and 150 student days. The team wanted consistent “no school” Fridays [thus eliminating Monday holidays] and there will be no school for students Thanksgiving week. The Monday and Tuesday of that week will be professional development days for teachers.
Regarding school personnel, on Superintendent Mark Meyer’s recommendation, the board approved Stefanie Nielsen as elementary school para/secretary, Mandi Etheridge as head high school secretary and Terrence Casias as a volunteer high school track coach. The board also approved Meyer’s suggestion that a third fourth-grade teacher be hired for next year.
The board set a special executive session for 5:40 p.m. on Tuesday for the purpose of finishing the superintendent’s evaluation and reviewing the quarterly personnel update.
Board member Kurt Blunt also announced that work on their evaluation of Teresa Schott, the executive director of the Rio Blanco County Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), would take place at that time.
Another executive session was set for March 17 at 5:40 p.m. to interview superintendent candidates. Board President Bill deVergie announced that final candidate interviews had been moved up from April 10 to April 3.