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School district to move headquarters

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Delta County Joint School District #50 is planning to move its headquarters from Read to the former Bank of Colorado building at the corner of 4th & Palmer in Delta.

The school board voted 4-1 to enter into a lease-purchase agreement with the bank contingent upon a building inspection.

The nay vote was cast by school board president Tammy Smith, who said she felt the school board had not fully explored other options -- including the nearly-empty Energy Tech building in Paonia.

Renovation of the existing headquarters was one of the options examined by the school district, but the cost of replacing outdated electrical, HVAC and plumbing systems far outweighed the purchase and renovation of the building in Delta.

School district business manager Jim Ventrello said the purchase price of $350,000 was reduced to $185,000 in exchange for marketing concessions. The Bank of Colorado will be permitted to install an ATM at the old Chaco building purchased by Delta-Montrose Technical College. No fee will be charged for 10 years. The building will house the ENGAGE Innovation

Center and some tech college classrooms, one of which will be named for the bank. When feasible, the bank will also be recognized as a sponsor of school events.

After purchase is finalized, the building will undergo some remodeling to include removal of the teller line. The school district expects to realize considerable savings in internet services that can be applied to remodeling costs.

According to "Slates, Chalk & Inkwells: A History of Schools in Colorado's Uncompahgre Valley" by Greta Hemstrom, the Delta County School District No. 10 at Read was established about the time of the first census in 1908. Two early frame buildings were later replaced by a sturdy brick structure. The Read School closed in 1950 when numerous rural schools were consolidated into Delta County Joint School District #50. The school building then became a useful central location for the district's board and administrators.

While the new district office will not be as centrally located, Delta is home to about 50 percent of the county's student population.

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