Delta County Joint School District #50 is embarking on three major construction projects -- the relocation of the district office from Read to downtown Delta, renovation of the former Chaco building and an addition to Delta Middle School.
In May, the school district approved a lease-purchase agreement for the acquisition of the former Bank of Colorado building at the corner of 4th and Palmer. A subsequent building inspection revealed the presence of asbestos, and negotiations were continued as the school district sought concessions from the seller to help with the cost of remediation. An updated lease-purchase agreement was finalized in August.
John McHugh, the school district's facilities supervisor, said he will be developing an asbestos abatement plan and filing for a demolition permit while remodeling plans are finished. Because the building is owned by the school district, a building permit must be obtained from the state, not the city. The asbestos abatement plan must be included in the application for a building permit.
Jim Ventrello, school district business manager, said it's likely no construction activity will take place for six to eight weeks. Initially, he said, the school district had hoped to move into the new offices over Christmas break, but spring may prove more realistic.
The building is currently occupied by Delta County Economic Development. Some Region 10 programs were also offered in the building.
There will be few changes to the exterior of the building, Ventrello said. Inside, the teller line will be converted into offices, and the offices along the east wall will be reconfigured to include a large meeting room. A small reception area is also planned.
The future of the current district office -- once the Read School -- is under discussion. Ventrello said a market analysis has been done on the property, but a sale would require relocation of the district warehouse.
During a work session Aug. 17, school board members discussed whether hiring a general contractor would be advisable, given all the other projects facing the school district.
In conjunction with Delta County Economic Development, the City of Delta and Delta County, the school district has obtained a Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) grant for engineering and design of the TCR (Technical College of the Rockies) ENGAGE Center in the former Chaco building.
In the meantime, scattered-site programming will be developed, to demonstrate the concept behind the ENGAGE Center, which combines job force creation/training, business incubation (including a commercial kitchen) and specialized resources for ag and energy.
Additional grants are being pursued for the initial phase of renovation, and for a coordinator to pull all the moving parts together. School district officials said they're feeling confident about the three-year, $680,000 Economic Development Authority grant for operations.
Grants will also fund a significant portion of an addition to Delta Middle School. The school district is currently interviewing the architects and civil engineers who will be asked to design a new sixth grade wing, cafeteria and safety improvements on the DMS campus.
The existing sixth grade wing will be demolished, and students will be moved to the bandroom area in the Performing Arts Center while construction and remodeling take place. The target date for occupancy is the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.
Two fatal accidents occurred in Delta County within a two-day span last week.
Casey Gillenwater, 25, of Delta was killed the afternoon of Wednesday, Sept. 13, in a single-vehicle rollover on Highway 133 outside of Hotchkiss.