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BEST board makes its first cuts

The state Capital Construction Assistance Board Tuesday worked its way through nearly 40 school construction and renovation applications, advancing a couple of dozen to the next stage but dashing the hopes of more than a dozen others.

Major projects that survived include:

  • Aurora – A $31.5 million replacement for Mrachek Middle School
  • South Conejos (Antonito) — $19.7 million for a new PK-12 school
  • Animas High School (Durango charter) – A $13.7 million building
  • Ross Montessori Charter (Carbondale) — $12.9 million for a new school
  • Edison – A $10.8 million renovation and expansion project for a 1922 junior/senior high school
  • Widefield — $8 million to renovate an elementary school

But two large projects didn’t make the cut, including:

  • New American School (Adams County charter) – $5.5 million to renovate an old supermarket for a school
  • AXL Academy (Aurora charter) – A $20.9 million new school

This year nearly 40 districts and about a dozen charter schools have submitted a total of more than 60 requests. Those bids total about $308 million in total project costs, including $228 million in state funds and $80 million in promised local matches.

The board’s staff is recommending spending up to $10 million in cash grants and a little more than $109.2 million total cost for larger projects that are financed with debt.

The nine-member board uses a complicated process to cull the applicants. Projects require a majority roll-call vote to advance to a short list, but projects die if they don’t gain a majority, don’t get a second or fail to spark a motion at all.

Projects that make the first cut are by no means guaranteed a spot on the final list because the board will make further cuts from the short lists, one for cash-funded jobs and one for debt-funded projects.

The board is scheduled to finish working through the full list Wednesday before it turns to the short lists. Get more details about this year’s BEST process in this previous EdNews story.

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