From the pages of
Pinedale Roundup
Volume 105, Number 23 - June 5, 2008
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

District announces BloomField site

by Jennie Oemig

During a public meeting last week, Sublette County School District (SCSD) #1 officials announced that the new K-5 elementary school will be built in the BloomField subdivision. “I think it was a great choice and the school will do well out there,” Superintendent Doris Woodbury said.

And BloomField land developer Matt Harber said he is anxious to get the project started.

“Obviously, we’re excited about it,” he said of the district’s decision. “ … We’re pretty excited to partner up with [the school] on this project.”

Beginning in the fall of 2007, with the early stages of site selection, the district was considering five locations upon which to build the school.

Those sites were then narrowed down to two, as the developers of each parcel of land gave presentations to the SCSD #1 Board of Trustees and Long-Range Facilities Planning Committee.

After reviewing the process, it was announced that a site on the north end of the BloomField would be the home of the new 600-student K-5 facility.

“It’ll fit very nicely into what we have planned,” Harber said. “And we’re excited to plan our neighborhoods around it.”

While the ideal location for the new school would have been on the present campus along with the high school and middle school, Woodbury said space did not allow that option.

And some parents don’t mind that there will be two separate campuses.

“Personally, I believe it is beneficial to have a bit of separation of elementary school children from the middle school and high school teenagers and young adults,” said Loretta Erickson, whose daughter will attend the school after it is constructed. “I am certain that the convenience of having all children in a family on the same campus has its up side, but I actually prefer the alternative location for elementary school students.”

Regardless of the location, Woodbury said this new endeavor should be a great experience for the district.

“Having adequate room to build and a new facility … all the excitement that goes with it will be an awesome experience for our children and staff,” she said. “And I think all the parents will love it once we get it out there. It’s a big change for our school and community.”

Among the reasons given for the selection of the BloomField site were safety, affordability and infrastructure.

“Those are some of the things that we were trying to emphasize about the Bloom-Field,” Harber said, adding that the traffic plan and the pedestrian plan will also be great assets for that particular facility. “We can cater to the needs of the school.”

Aside from the fact that the cost per acre was more affordable, the district’s construction manager Dennis Seipp said it was the most logical due to the lack of space on the Redstone property.

“During an executive session in March, it was decided that the BloomField was the one we needed,” he said.

There is also the potential to buy more property at the BloomField location if need be.

“We bought 20 acres out there,” he said, explaining that guidelines set a minimum acreage for which schools are built upon. “We needed four acres, plus one acre for every 100 students, so that’s 10 acres. And we could purchase an additional 17 acres next to it for adding on.”

The growing pains the school is facing have even been recognized by parents and Erickson said the concept of having more room on both campuses is bound to be beneficial.

“This community is growing very quickly, and I imagine that the former elementary school building could be utilized to help accommodate future growth needs for our youth in Pinedale,” she said. With the location chosen in March, Seipp said the district has been moving forward in the construction process.

“We will be going out for bids on that in the next two or three months,” he said.

Once that process is complete and the architects, engineers and contractors are chosen, Seipp said things will move along quickly, especially if the district decides on the design-build option.

“We hope to start construction next spring if we could,” he said, explaining that originally completion was anticipated for the fall of 2011. “Design-build would shorten [the project time] by about a third, so we would be able to be in this building by the fall of 2010.”

And elementary school principal Greg Legerski said the quicker the building process goes, the better it will be for the district, especially with increasing enrollment.

“We’re busting at the seams, so the sooner we can get moving, the better,” he said.

As for the location, Legerski said he really has no positive or negative things to say about the BloomField being chosen.

“I think it’s fine,” he said. “I’m just ready to start moving forward with the new school.”

While the location in the BloomField will mean separating the campus, Legerski said he thinks it’s just important that the elementary grade levels remain together.

“I think keeping K-5 together will be nice,” he said. “And opening this campus up for 6-12 will be great … I don’t foresee any large problems with being at another campus.”

Reasons given for choosing the BloomField

• The school location provides a safe walking and biking atmosphere for students. The BloomField development has sidewalks, curbs and gutters and/or pathways along all roadways as well as linking with the town bike paths.

• With the new developments and affordable housing near the school we will have a number students living close by. The Town of Pinedale is expanding in this area.

• The traffic is planned for in advance with roads and access developed specifically for the new school and to handle the volume of traffic. We anticipate over 400 trips to school by individual cars and 20 trips per day for school busses.

• Utilities and infrastructure are planned specifically to meet the needs of the new school.

• Cost per acre was the most reasonable.

• Additional acreage is available for purchase if desired.

• Adequate assurances for completion of infrastructure were negotiated.

• There is the potential for connection to the current campus without entering or crossing the highway.

• The developer was very willing to be flexible, adjust initial designs and drafts of the project and to accommodate the needs of the school district.

• This site allows the district to maintain their Redstone property as a pre 1997 asset.

• This project also allows for the school district to loop the water at their bus barn.

• This site is approved by the School Facilities Commission.

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