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P.O. Box 127
Saguache, CO 81149

Phone: 719-655-2578
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What’s Your Passion?

What’s Your Passion?

The word “passion” is thrown around a lot these days. I’m passionate about this. I’m passionate about that. What are your passions? Before you answer, let’s take a closer look at the true meaning of the word passion.

Passion is a Middle English word, from Anglo-French, derived from Late Latin passion and passio, meaning suffering or being acted upon. Passion’s earliest origins begin with the Latin word pati, to suffer. So, let’s take it way back and use a little Latin. What are you passionate about, or for what are you willing to suffer?

I immediately think of my family. I am willing to suffer for my family. Interestingly, the word “family” originates from the Latin word famulus, meaning servant. Now, when I use Latin and say I am passionate about my family, I might be saying that I am willing to suffer as a servant.

Educators are servants. They are an extension of the family. In fact, the legal term in loco parentis (also Latin) is used in education and quite literally means “in place of a parent.” The school environment is filled with servants who are passionate about kids. When I say this, I mean all staff members, from maintenance to foodservice, transportation to administration, and of course, teachers. Passionate people make a difference in the lives of children.

The short video Every Opportunity produced by Atlanta Speech School shows the importance of positive interactions, especially with students. Simple interactions make a difference, and we should take every opportunity to put our best foot forward and build meaningful relationships. Even when we are grumpy and having a bad day, it is important to let our passion show and serve the people who need us most, our children.

When I ask about your passions, I hope they include answers related to personal growth, family, and community. If you are an educator, I hope your answers include children.

With that said, what are you passionate about? Some things are worth suffering for; others are not.

New School Site Plan at Mountain Valley

After a month of brainstorming and planning, the Design Advisory Group (DAG) is getting close to finalizing the site layout and floor plan for the future Mountain Valley PreK-12 School. There is only one more DAG meeting left, and everyone is getting excited to move from the design phase to the construction phase, which is expected to begin in late May or early June of 2018.

Starting from the west side of the property, the site plan below shows a regulation 1600 meter track with a field inside. This area will be large enough to accommodate an 80-yard field for 6-man football or a 100-yard field for 8 and 11-man football.  A regulation-sized soccer field will also fit inside of the track. The track and field will be utilized for various community activities and sporting events, as well as allow for future expansion of athletic programs at Mountain Valley School.

The PreK-12 School is located just east of the track with educational and community use areas. The wing to the west will be utilized for both school and community activities and events. The two-story north wing will house most of the academic classroom spaces.

This site layout allows for increased security on campus, protection from prevailing winds, and southern sun exposure on all approach sidewalks, parking lots, and playground areas.

The preschool playground will be placed off of the preschool classroom, and the elementary playground will be southeast of the track. Transportation facilities and additional athletic event parking are shown on the west side of the property.

Adequate parking, secure student drop off areas, and separate bus loading and unloading zones will increase safety on campus during the busy morning, lunch, and afternoon hours. School plazas and memorials will be located around the school. The community garden and geodesic dome greenhouse will remain on the south side of the property.

The first floor of the school is shown with elementary, media center, team center, administration, art, and weight room areas throughout the north wing. The west wing houses the gym, auxiliary gym, locker rooms, concessions, cafeteria, home economics, vocational education, performing arts, and storage spaces. Community engagement and access are important at Mountain Valley School.  Consequently, the media center and most spaces in the west wing will be available for various community activities and events.

The second-floor layout has the high school and middle school areas separated by the media center. A science deck will look out over the beautiful views from Saguache. The two gymnasiums, performing arts spaces, and a hidden mechanical area will be at a two-story height as well.

If you have any comments or questions regarding the campus layout and new school design, please feel free to contact any DAG member (Amber Johnson, Aubrey Hill, David Hammel, Kathy Hill, Lacy Reed, Lisa Jaminet, Bobbie Baughman, Marilyn Fenton, Mark Hammel, Mona Lovato, Paula Lujan, Peggy Williams, Yvonne Morfitt, Eric Frey, May Engquist, Chuck Tidd, and Travis Garoutte) or stop by Mountain Valley and visit with administration. For even more information on the DAG process, click on the links below to view the minutes and slides from all three of the previous meetings.

DAG Meeting #3 Minutes

DAG Meeting #3 Slides

DAG Meeting #2 Minutes

DAG Meeting #2 Slides

DAG Meeting #1 Minutes

DAG Meeting #1 Slides

Mountain Valley School Design

The design process for the new PreK-12 school at Mountain Valley is underway! We have assembled a fantastic team and are quickly making progress towards realizing the hopes and dreams for the future of our school and community.

Design Advisory Group member Bobbie Baughman shares her thoughts on school site use and placement.

 

After a transparent and competitive interview and bidding process, Mountain Valley School District has hired NV5 as owner’s representatives, TreanorHL as the architectural and engineering firm, and FCI Constructors. This team is a great fit for our school and community, and I am excited to be working closely with them during the design and construction of our new school.

Eric Frey discusses site design with the Design Advisory Group.

 

Additionally, over 15 community members have volunteered to serve on the Design Advisory Group (DAG). The DAG met on December 6th for around three hours and discussed hopes, dreams, goals, visions, opportunities, and challenges around the new school design. It was a great first meeting full of enthusiasm and optimism as possible school placement and designs were discussed and modeled.

The Design Advisory Group (DAG) process will be completed in four or five meetings.

 

One of the responsibilities of DAG members is to solicit feedback from various stakeholders in the community and relay that information to the design team. If you would like to share your thoughts and ideas before our next community meeting, please contact one of the following DAG members: Amber Johnson, Aubrey Hill, Julia Hammel, Kathy Hill, Lacy Reed, Lisa Jaminet, Bobbie Baughman, Marilyn Fenton, Mark Hammel, Mona Lovato, Paula Lujan, Peggy Williams, Yvonne Morfitt, Eric Frey, May Engquist, Chuck Tidd, or Travis Garoutte. It is important that the new school design includes input from all stakeholders. In the end, we want a school that meets the needs of our students and community.

The Design Advisory Group examines various school models and layouts.

 

These are exciting times for our students, staff, and community. I encourage everyone to visit with DAG members, attend community meetings, and take an active role as we design and build a new school at Mountain Valley.

Have a great week!

Travis Garoutte, Superintendent

Together, We Can Make a Difference!

Together, We Can Make a Difference!

Thanks to our supportive community, Mountain Valley School is well on its way towards realizing the district goals of relationships, innovation, and rejuvenation. Relationships with all stakeholders is critical, and district residents are trusting Mountain Valley to create innovative and engaging learning environments, as well as multi-use community and athletic spaces as we design and build a new school that will serve our students, families, and community for many generations to come.

Throughout this process, transparency is key. My hope is that everyone has access to accurate information and ample opportunities to share thoughts and ideas during the design and building phases. Our first new school facility community meeting with owner’s representatives NV5 and architects TreanorHL was held on Wednesday, November 29th at 5:00 pm at Mountain Valley School. Over 40 residents were present and met the NV5 and TreanorHL teams that will be working closely with the Mountain Valley community during this process. Topics covered during this meeting included Transparency Diagram, Design Advisory Group Process, High-Level Timeline, Community Input Process, Design Philosophy – Designing within Context, and Open Dialogue regarding Community Vision, Hopes, Dreams, and Fears.

On the construction side of the project, Mountain Valley received proposals from four construction companies: GE Johnson, GH Phipps, Haselden-Diesslin, and FCI. GE Johnson has completed 124 PreK-12 School projects, including BEST schools in the San Luis Valley for Center, Sangre de Cristo, and South Conejos. GH Phipps has built schools throughout Colorado, as well as projects at Adams State University, San Luis Valley Health, and the Rio Grande Hospital. Haselden-Diesslin has completed over 130 PreK-12 schools, including Moffat School, Salida High School, and Longfellow Elementary School in Salida. Over the past five years, FCI has built over 120 educational facilities, including Ignacio High School, Ignacio Middle School, and Sanford School.

A six-member selection team worked hard to score the proposals from the aforementioned construction companies. This was no easy task, as the proposals ranged from 45 to 68 pages, and each construction company was highly qualified. Proposals were scored on the following criteria: Cover Letter; Firm Qualifications; Project Experience and References; High Performance/Sustainability Expertise; Team Structure, Experience, and Resumes; Cost Estimate; Project Schedule; and Project Approach. After the scoring was completed, the top-ranked construction companies were invited for face-to-face interviews at Mountain Valley School on Monday, December 4th. The interviews were scored and Mountain Valley is currently working to select a construction company to join our team and help build the new PreK-12 school in Saguache, Colorado.

These are exciting times for our school and community! As we begin designing the new school, please attend the community meetings and share your input. Together, we can make a difference at Mountain Valley School.

Travis Garoutte, Superintendent  

Designing the Future at MVS

Designing the Future at MVS

I am so proud of our community and its support of Mountain Valley in passing bond issue 3B for a new PreK-12 school in Saguache, Colorado. It is with great excitement that I look forward to the future of Mountain Valley School District and the positive impact this will have on our students, our community, and our future. As our journey continues, Mountain Valley is dedicated to working with all stakeholders to design and build a new school that will meet the needs of our students, families, and community. Together, we will make a difference in the lives of children. Thank you for supporting Mountain Valley School District and making this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity a reality.

After visiting Saguache and Mountain Valley School last month, eleven architectural firms throughout Colorado and New Mexico submitted proposals. The proposals were assessed and scored by a six-member selection team, and the top four firms were invited for a face-to-face interview in Saguache on November 8, 2017. After a day of rigorous interviews, TreanorHL was selected as the architectural firm to design the new PreK-12 school at Mountain Valley.

With over 50 years of experience in educational facility design, it is clear that TreanorHL is passionate about designing state-of-the-art active learning environments for PreK-12 schools. In addition to experience on the front range, TreanorHL has designed schools in the rural mountain towns of Lake City, Buena Vista, Leadville, Gunnison, Crested Butte, Carbondale, Basalt, Glenwood Springs, and Steamboat Springs.

Chad Novak, TreanorHL Principal-in-Charge, stated, “I’m excited about designing a space that is grounded in Saguache’s unique history, culture, and landscape, allowing the community itself to become an extension of the classroom.”

Chad Novak, TreanorHL Principal-in-Charge for the new PreK-12 Mountain Valley School project.

Project Manager Adam Braunstein is “excited about working with folks that really care about what’s happening in the community and have a genuine goal of creating a place that empowers and prepares every student for success.”

Adam Braunstein, TreanorHL Project Manager for the new PreK-12 Mountain Valley School project.

Project Architect Scott Dangel said, “Schools, particularly in smaller, rural areas play a crucial role for the community, often serving as a communal gathering place. I’m excited that the district wants to create a life-long learning center for everyone.”

Scott Dangel, TreanorHL Project Architect for the new PreK-12 Mountain Valley School project.

As we begin working with TreanorHL to design a new school that meets the needs of our community, a Design Advisory Group (DAG) will be formed. The DAG will consist of 10-15 members, including students, parents, community members, MVS staff and administration. The DAG members will attend DAG meetings, solicit feedback from all stakeholders, attend larger community input meetings, and help ensure that the new school is designed and built to meet the needs of our students, staff, and community. There will be a continuous cycle of DAG meetings and larger community input meetings to ensure that the new Mountain Valley School is a perfect fit for our community. If you are interested in the design process and serving on the DAG, please contact me at Mountain Valley School.

I am looking forward to working with TreanorHL and the DAG to design our new school at Mountain Valley!

Travis Garoutte, Superintendent

Mountain Valley Students Deserve Informed Voters

Mountain Valley Students Deserve Informed Voters

Mountain Valley School District has been awarded a once-in-a-lifetime $27 million Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) Grant to build a safe and secure 21st-century learning facility for our students, our community, and our future. To receive this BEST Grant, voters who reside in our school district must approve a matching $3.7 million bond. Voting ballots have been mailed and the official election deadline is Tuesday, November 7, 2017. Many residents have attended community meetings and received accurate information. However, some misinformation has recently surfaced and I would like to revisit the most frequently asked questions in detail. My hope is that all citizens will have factual information when they vote on ballot question 3B.

Mountain Valley’s main building is over 50 years old and beyond its useful life. The current middle school was built in 1995 and will be repurposed as a transportation and maintenance facility.

 

WHAT IS THE BEST PROGRAM?

Building Excellent Schools Today legislation was passed in the spring of 2008 for the purpose of assisting school districts with low property values in upgrading facilities to a minimum standard of safety and functionality. Without this BEST funding, low property value school districts, like Mountain Valley School District, would never be able to build safe and modern school facilities for our students, families, and community.

HOW MUCH WILL THE PROPOSED NEW SCHOOL COST?

The total cost of a new PreK-12 school facility presented in the Mountain Valley School BEST Grant proposal was just under $31 million dollars. Last May, Mountain Valley School District was awarded a $27 million BEST Grant. To receive this BEST Grant, it will be necessary for district residents to match about 12% of this cost by approving a $3.7 million bond during the 2017 election. The State of Colorado will be providing 88% of the approved BEST project funding costs.

Architectural drawing of possible new school layout. The final design will be determined by Mountain Valley students, staff, administration, and community.

 

WHAT WOULD IT COST TO SIMPLY RENOVATE OUR CURRENT FACILITIES AT MOUNTAIN VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT?

A 2009 facilities assessment by the Colorado Department of Education found almost $17 million worth of needed repairs at Mountain Valley School District. Since that time, conditions at the school have only deteriorated while costs have escalated. With a bonding capacity of only $3.7 million, Mountain Valley School can never repair the existing problems without funding assistance. Due to the current condition of our facilities and cost to renovate, remodeling was never a feasible option. The Colorado Department of Education’s Capital Construction Board ranked Mountain Valley’s new school construction project as the highest need in the state of Colorado and awarded a $27 million BEST Grant to build a new state-of-the-art school facility for our community.

NV5 Technical Engineering and Consulting Solutions estimated renovation costs using the formula $250 per square foot x 75,000 square feet = $18.75 million for buildings alone + additions + grounds improvements + temporary learning spaces for the students. NV5 also noted that the $3.7 million matching bond would still be required, and the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) would not support renovations with Mountain Valley’s Facilities Cost Index (FCI = cost of needed repairs/value of the property) of 72.21%. Sarah Lara from NV5 stated, “In Mountain Valley’s case a new school makes the most sense, from a financial & safety/security standpoint for students and staff. Mountain Valley School was one of the highest needs schools that submitted an application, so that says a lot about the level of concern from CDE about the current buildings.”

Wold Architects and Engineers was asked for a professional opinion on renovation as well. Job Gutierrez from Wold stated, “Even if Mountain Valley fixed all of the current deficiencies at $16-18 million for system replacements (actual project costs would be higher), they would still be left with an old and antiquated school layout, not a modern 21st Century school with flexible learning spaces and project-based learning space opportunities. The $3.7 million matching bond would still be required.”

WHY DOES THE MOUNTAIN VALLEY SCHOOL COST MORE THAN THE MOFFAT SCHOOL?

Moffat’s new school was completed in August 2015, four years ahead of Mountain Valley’s scheduled completion of August 2019. According to NV5, the owner’s representatives for Moffat during their project, school construction costs have escalated more than 10% per year for rural and mountain communities. That is at least a 40% increase in construction costs. The Moffat School’s final cost was close to $18.3 million for 47,000 square feet of space or $390 per square foot. When current construction cost escalations are factored in, projected costs for Moffat’s school would be much higher in today’s market. Mountain Valley’s $31 million project is 67,000 square feet and works out to $462 per square foot. The Mountain Valley School will have additional student and community spaces, which include a gym and auxiliary gym, weight room, stage, media center, community garden, football field, rubberized track and a fitness trail. The new facility at Mountain Valley will be more than a school for students; it will be a welcoming space for our community and families.

WILL WE KEEP ANY OF THE BUILDINGS WE ALREADY HAVE?

The Mountain Valley School District Facilities Action Plan allows the Middle School building to be repurposed as a Transportation and Maintenance facility.

HOW DISRUPTIVE WILL THE CONSTRUCTION PROCESS BE TO THE EDUCATION PROCESS?

The Mountain Valley School District Facilities Action Plan shows that the new school will be built and opened before vacating the old buildings.

WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO DO THIS NOW? ARE OUR CURRENT BUILDINGS NO LONGER SAFE?

During the 2017 BEST Grant application process, Mountain Valley School District was the top-ranked school in the state needing new educational facilities. Our buildings currently exhibit numerous safety, electrical, plumbing, HVAC and roofing issues, as well as other urgent needs. In addition, there is only a limited amount of BEST funding available for projects like the one Mountain Valley School District has been awarded. This could be a once-in-a-lifetime funding opportunity to provide a much-needed new PreK-12 facility for our students, families, and community. With a bonding capacity of only $3.7 million, our district will never be able to improve our facilities situation and provide both today’s and tomorrow’s students with the safe and modern facilities they deserve. This $27 million BEST Grant funding opportunity may never be offered to Mountain Valley School again. Moffat, Creede, Sanford, South Conejos, Sargent, Alamosa, Monte Vista, Sangre De Cristo and Centennial schools have already built new and modern facilities with BEST funding.

Freedle Auditorium, built in 1933, is in disrepair and well beyond its useful life. This building serves as the kitchen, cafeteria, office and storage spaces at Mountain Valley School.

 

HOW MUCH WILL THE NEW SCHOOL COST ME AS A TAXPAYER IF I OWN A HOUSE OR RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY IN THE DISTRICT?

If your property’s assessed value is $25,000, your tax impact will be about $2.34 per month or $28.02 per year.

If your property’s assessed value is $50,000, your tax impact will be about $4.67 per month or $56.04 per year.

If your property’s assessed value is $75,000, your tax impact will be about $7.00 per month or $84.06 per year.

If your property’s assessed value is $100,000, your tax impact will be about $9.34 per month or $112.08 per year.

If your property’s assessed value is $125,000, your tax impact will be about $11.68 per month or $140.10 per year.

If your property’s assessed value is $150,000, your tax impact will be about $14.01per month or $168.12 per year.

If your property’s assessed value is $175,000, your tax impact will be about $16.35 per month or $196.14 per year.

If your property’s assessed value is $200,000, your tax impact will be about $18.68 per month or $224.16 per year.

If your property’s assessed value is $225,000, your tax impact will be about $21.02 per month or $252.18 per year.

If your property’s assessed value is $250,000, your tax impact will be about $23.35 per month or $280.20 per year.

HOW MUCH WILL THE NEW SCHOOL COST ME AS A TAXPAYER IF I OWN COMMERCIAL OR AGRICULTURE PROPERTY IN THE DISTRICT?

For business and agricultural owners, the tax impact for every $100,000 of assessed commercial or agricultural property will be about $37.36 per month or $448.32 per year.

WHAT HAPPENS IF VOTERS DO NOT APPROVE THE 2017 BOND DURING THE NOVEMBER 7, 2017 ELECTION?

If the November 2017 bond fails, the $27 million BEST Grant awarded to Mountain Valley School District reverts back to the State of Colorado to be distributed to another school district that is willing to meet its BEST Grant match requirement. The first district in line to receive this money if we fail to pass our 2017 Bond is Mancos School District, which has already been selected by the BEST Grant Board as an alternate project should any project ahead of them fail to provide their match this November. If the bond fails, Mountain Valley School District will not have the necessary funding to address current safety issues and failing systems. BEST Grant funding is dwindling, and there is no guarantee that state funding will ever be available again to help our school.

NEED MORE FACTUAL INFORMATION?

If you still need more information regarding the new school at Mountain Valley, please stop by the school and visit with me. Factual information can also be found at BEST for MVS and The Superintendent’s Corner websites.

Thank you for taking the time to become an informed voter!

Travis Garoutte, Superintendent

Preserving History and Culture at the New Mountain Valley School

Preserving History and Culture at the New Mountain Valley School

As we plan and prepare for a new PreK-12 school at Mountain Valley, it is important to preserve and retain the rich history and culture from previous generations. This point has been articulated during the dozens of BEST Grant community meetings that have been held since November 2016. Hundreds of community members have participated and given input into what is important in a new school at Mountain Valley. Thank you to everyone who has participated in these meetings and helped build the vision and future of Mountain Valley School.

Last week, Mountain Valley issued a Request for Qualifications for an architectural/engineering team to design our new school. The response was incredible with over fifty professionals showing up to visit our school, tour the campus, and learn what is important to our community as we move forward in the design process. Architects interested in submitting a proposal must consider the following key points that were discussed at length during the tour.

How can we preserve the three memorials at Mountain Valley School?

The Otonio Genovevo Abeyta Memorial was dedicated to the memory of “Tony” Abeyta in 1987. Tony died September 3, 1965, while serving our country as a Marine in Vietnam. This memorial welcomes visitors to Mountain Valley School while honoring “God and Country.”

The Charles L. Coleman Jr. memorial was erected in 1996 on the north end of the football field in memory of “Corky.” This memorial includes two flagpoles set in a moss rock structure where Old Glory and the Colorado flag fly during home football games.

The Jack F. Curtis Sr. Memorial scoreboard has been a part of Mountain Valley football tradition for decades. This historic scoreboard memorial stands proudly at the south end of Jack F. Curtis Field.

These historic memorials will be included in the design of the new school and campus. Possibilities include displaying all three memorials at the new Jack Curtis Field. Alternatively, a Memorial Park could be built at the end of 4th street welcoming visitors to our school. This Memorial Park could include a walking path that connects the three memorials and tells a history of Mountain Valley School.

How can we transfer the artwork from the current gym to the new Bennett Gymnasium?

The 1987 artwork designed and painted by Vincent Gallegos, Charles Graves, Lori Ortega and Edna Quintana honors our school and other schools in the San Luis Valley. When opponents walk into our gym, they are welcomed and inspired by various mascots from our region. Ideally, this artwork will be replicated in the new Bennett Gymnasium, representing the various school cultures from across the valley.

How can we save and display the 10’ X 40’ Cochetopa Pass Buffalos mural that is painted on the south wall of the cafeteria?

In 1988, Fred F. Haberlein dedicated the Cochetopa Pass Buffalos mural to the students and teachers at Mountain Valley School. Haberlein has been nominated twice for the Colorado Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. Additionally, he has completed more single-handed murals than any other artist in the United States. Architects are already working on plans to save the Haberlein mural and display it in the new school.

How can we ensure that the new school fits in with historic downtown Saguache?

During the tour, architects were asked to visit downtown Saguache and consider historic architecture when designing the new school. School district residents have indicated that they do not want a school that looks like a “prison” or an “eyesore.” The new school should embrace the historic culture of the region while providing 21st-century learning spaces for our students.

The architect/engineering firm will be selected on November 8, 2017, through a competitive proposal, scoring, and interview process. After an architect is selected for our new school project, a Design Advisory Group (DAG) will be formed. The DAG will consist of 10-15 members, including students, parents, community members, MVS staff and administration. The DAG members will solicit feedback from all stakeholders and help ensure that the new school is designed and built to meet the needs of our students, staff, and community. If you are interested in the design process and serving on the DAG, please contact me at Mountain Valley School.

Have a great week!

Travis Garoutte, Superintendent

It Takes a Village

It Takes a Village

At Mountain Valley School, our mission for the past four years has been to empower and prepare every student for lifelong academic success and personal growth. As I have grown and matured as an educator, I have realized that education in a small rural community has a bigger meaning, a larger and broader scope. Students need to be empowered and prepared, but what about our staff, families, and community? How can we empower and prepare everyone? We all know that it truly takes a village to raise a child.

Relationships. Our number one goal at Mountain Valley School is building positive and caring relationships, not only with students, but with each other as a staff, with parents and families, and with the greater Saguache community. Quality relationships drive the culture of a school. School culture can be felt the minute you walk through the front doors and can make or break an organization. We are continually striving for a welcoming environment where everyone feels safe, valued, and appreciated.  

Innovation. Innovation is all about doing something new and better. At Mountain Valley, we want to avoid embracing the status quo and doing things the way they have always been done. The world of education is changing too fast to cling to the past. Students and staff are encouraged to take risks and step outside of their comfort zones while personalizing their learning. My hope is that Mountain Valley will become a learning center for our community. Can you imagine an environment where a school is as much about adult learning as it is about student learning, a gathering place for a community of lifelong learners?

Rejuvenation. After years of deferred maintenance, Mountain Valley School is focusing on rejuvenating outdated systems and facilities. Updated mesh WIFI at our school now allows students and staff the connectivity required to be successful in the 21st century. New Chromebooks have also been purchased for students and faculty. The resulting engagement, creativity, and critical thinking can be seen on a daily basis as personalized learning takes place in classes and during capstone projects. Our aging transportation fleet has been updated with a recently purchased route bus and two new activity vehicles. When our students are on the road, it is comforting to know that they are traveling in safe and reliable vehicles. Finally, Mountain Valley School has been awarded a $27 million Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) Grant to build a new PreK-12 school for our students, staff, and community. If school district voters approve the required $3.7 million matching bond this November, we will have a safe, secure, and state-of-the-art learning facility at Mountain Valley.

Mountain Valley School is dedicated to achieving our relationship, innovation, and rejuvenation goals. We have made great progress in a short amount of time, and we are well on our way to empowering and preparing our community of lifelong learners!       

Please share your thoughts on how Mountain Valley School can empower and prepare all stakeholders as we travel together on the path of continuous personal growth and improvement.

Travis Garoutte, Superintendent

Mountain Valley School BEST Grant Frequently Asked Questions

Mountain Valley School BEST Grant Frequently Asked Questions

Mountain Valley School District was recently awarded a $27 million BEST Grant to build a new PreK-12 school. There have been a lot of great questions during this process, and I want to take some time to answer these frequently asked questions. My hope is that our residents will have all of the information they need to make the best decision possible for our students, families, and community.

 

WHAT IS THE BEST PROGRAM?

Building Excellent Schools Today legislation was passed in the spring of 2007 for the purpose of assisting school districts with low property values in upgrading facilities to a minimum standard of safety and functionality. Without this BEST funding, low property value school districts, like Mountain Valley School District, would never be able to build safe and modern school facilities for our students, families, and community.

HOW MUCH WILL THE PROPOSED NEW SCHOOL COST?

The total cost of a new PreK-12 school facility presented in the Mountain Valley School BEST Grant proposal was just under $31 million dollars. Last May, Mountain Valley School District was awarded a $27 million BEST Grant. To receive this BEST Grant, it will be necessary for district residents to “match” about $3.7 million of this cost (about 12%) by approving a bond during the 2017 election. The State of Colorado will be providing 88% of the approved BEST project funding costs.

 

Architectural drawing of possible new school. The final design will be determined
by our school community.

 

WHAT WOULD IT COST TO SIMPLY RENOVATE OUR CURRENT FACILITIES AT MOUNTAIN VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT?

A 2009 facilities assessment by the Colorado Department of Education found almost $17 million worth of needed repairs at Mountain Valley School District. Since that time, conditions at the school have only deteriorated while costs have escalated. With a bonding capacity of only $3.7 million, Mountain Valley School can never repair the existing problems without funding assistance. Due to the current condition of our facilities and cost to renovate, remodeling was never a feasible option. The Colorado Department of Education’s Capital Construction Board ranked Mountain Valley’s new school construction project as the highest need in the state of Colorado and awarded a $27 million BEST Grant to build a new state-of-the-art school facility for our community.

WILL WE KEEP ANY OF THE BUILDINGS WE ALREADY HAVE?

The Mountain Valley School District Facilities Action Plan allows the Middle School building to be repurposed as a Transportation and Maintenance facility.

HOW DISRUPTIVE WILL THE CONSTRUCTION PROCESS BE TO THE EDUCATION PROCESS?

The Mountain Valley School District Facilities Action Plan shows that the new school will be built and opened before vacating the old buildings.

WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT TO DO THIS NOW? ARE OUR CURRENT BUILDINGS NO LONGER SAFE?

During the 2017 BEST Grant application process, Mountain Valley School District was the top-ranked school in the state needing new educational facilities. Our buildings currently exhibit numerous safety, electrical, plumbing, HVAC and roofing issues, as well as other urgent needs. In addition, there is only a limited amount of BEST funding available for projects like the one Mountain Valley School District has been awarded. This could be a once-in-a-lifetime funding opportunity to provide a much-needed new PreK-12 facility for our students, families, and community. With a bonding capacity of only $3.7 million, our district will never be able to improve our facilities situation and provide both today’s and tomorrow’s students with the safe and modern facilities they deserve. This $27 million BEST Grant funding opportunity may never be offered to Mountain Valley School again. Moffat, Creede, Sanford, South Conejos, Sargent, Alamosa, Monte Vista, Sangre De Cristo and Centennial schools have already built new and modern facilities with BEST funding.

 

Outdated plumbing and frequent sewer backups cause school cancellations.

 

HOW MUCH WILL THE NEW SCHOOL COST ME AS A TAXPAYER IF I OWN A HOUSE OR RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY IN THE DISTRICT?

If your property’s assessed value is $25,000, your tax impact will be about $2.34 per month or $28.02 per year.

If your property’s assessed value is $50,000, your tax impact will be about $4.67 per month or $56.04 per year.

If your property’s assessed value is $75,000, your tax impact will be about $7.00 per month or $84.06 per year.

If your property’s assessed value is $100,000, your tax impact will be about $9.34 per month or $112.08 per year.

HOW MUCH WILL THE NEW SCHOOL COST ME AS A TAXPAYER IF I OWN COMMERCIAL OR AGRICULTURE PROPERTY IN THE DISTRICT?

For business and agricultural owners, the tax impact for every $100,000 of assessed commercial or agricultural property will be about $37.36 per month or $448.32 per year.

WHAT HAPPENS IF VOTERS DO NOT APPROVE THE 2017 BOND DURING THE NOVEMBER 7, 2017ELECTION?

If the November 2017 bond fails, the $27 million BEST Grant awarded to Mountain Valley School District reverts back to the State of Colorado to be distributed to another school district that is willing to meet its BEST Grant match requirement. The first district in line to receive this money if we fail to pass our 2017 Bond is Mancos School District, which has already been selected by the BEST Grant Board as an alternate project should any project ahead of them fail to provide their match this November. If the bond fails, Mountain Valley School District will not have the necessary funding to address current safety issues and failing systems. BEST Grant funding is dwindling, and there is no guarantee that state funding will ever be available again to help our school.

If you still have questions or need more information regarding the BEST Grant, please contact me at 719-655-0268. I would be happy to schedule a time to meet and tour our school. 

Have a fantastic week!

Travis Garoutte, Superintendent

Relationships, Innovation and Rejuvenation

Relationships, Innovation and Rejuvenation

It is going to be another great year at Mountain Valley School, and I am excited to see students back in the building. I have truly missed all of the kids and the laughter and joy they bring. As we begin the 2017-2018 school year, MVS will be focusing on three main goals: relationships, innovation, and rejuvenation.

I believe that relationships drive the culture of a school. Not just relationships with students, but relationships with parents, families and the community. It is also critical to foster quality relationships between staff members as we work towards continuous improvement. This year, we will continue to build positive relationships with each and every student, family and the greater community. My hope is that everyone can feel the welcoming atmosphere at Mountain Valley the minute you walk through our doors.

Innovation is also a priority this year. Not just doing something new, but doing something new and better. Teachers and students will be encouraged to take educational risks, experiment, fail, learn and repeat the process. True learning takes place just outside of one’s comfort zone. Individualized student capstone projects, technology integration, and staff-driven professional learning are some areas of innovation this year at Mountain Valley. Experts say that human knowledge is doubling every 13 months, and we can no longer afford to do what we have always done. Educational reformist John Dewey said it best when he stated, “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.”

Transportation, technology, and facilities are all focuses of rejuvenation this year. Our aging transportation fleet was in desperate need of attention, with most vehicles logging close to 200,000 or more miles. In order to provide safe transportation for our students and staff, Mountain Valley School recently purchased a route bus as well as two activity vehicles. Technology improvements at MVS include quality mesh WIFI throughout the entire school, which has completely solved our past connectivity problems. Additionally, teachers and students now have up-to-date Chromebooks and will be integrating technology throughout the curriculum.   

As you have probably heard, Mountain Valley School District has received a twenty-seven million dollar BEST Grant to build a new school and athletic facilities for our students and community. This grant requires a twelve percent match, which will come from a  $3.7 million bond to be voted on in November 2017.

Drawing of possible new school, which includes the following community spaces: Community Garden, Fitness Trail, Rubberized Walking Track, Stage, Media Center, Main and Auxillary Gyms, and Meeting Spaces.

 

I am excited about this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to improve our school while providing a modern and updated educational facility for our community. Our school is the heart of the community, with numerous events taking place at MVS throughout the year.  

In a 2009 site assessment, it was estimated that Mountain Valley School had almost $17 million in needs with a bonding capacity of only $3.7 million. Since that time, our needs have only increased. We currently have countless plumbing, electrical, roofing, HVAC, and security issues, with several components of our facilities well beyond their useful life. Without help from the BEST Grant, we will never be able to improve our situation or sustain our school district facilities in the future.

We will be having BEST Grant and 2017 bond election community informational meetings regularly to help inform and educate school district citizens regarding facilities issues and concerns, the $27 million BEST Grant that Mountain Valley School has been awarded, and the $3.7 million matching bond that is required to build a new school. During these meetings, we will celebrate our success in obtaining the BEST Grant, review the proposed plan for the new school, discuss the 2017 bond election, answer questions, and seek community input.

EVERYONE is invited! We welcome and need everyone’s input!

I hope to see you at our BEST Grant and 2017 bond election community meetings!

Travis Garoutte, Superintendent