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Forums give glimpse at possible futures for Pueblo high schools

Posted at 12:57 PM, Apr 02, 2019

PUEBLO – Administrators with Pueblo City Schools are looking for feedback from the community about a handful of proposed scenarios to replace some or all of the district’s four traditional high schools. Last fall, the school board began a facilities master plan process which aims to address declining enrollment resulting in underutilized schools. The process also revealed that buildings throughout the district need close to $800 million in repairs.

All of the proposed scenarios require public financing, likely to come in the form of a bond question this November. Depending upon the plan, D60 could end up asking voters to borrow between $254 and $315 million to build two new high schools and make additional repairs at buildings district-wide.  If approved, residential property taxes would be increased by an estimated $90 to $120 per year for every $100,000 of value.

Every proposal calls for construction of two new high schools. The biggest question for the community is how many high schools should the district keep open.

At $315 million, the first scenario is the most expensive. It would close all four high schools and replaces them with two larger schools, each with a capacity for 2,000 students.

The second option leaves the district with 3 traditional high schools. New buildings with a capacity of 1,200 students would be built to replace East and Centennial. Meanwhile, students at South and Central would be consolidated into one of the current buildings.

The vacant high school would then be repurposed to house a consolidated middle school with students from Roncalli and the Pueblo Academy of Arts, formerly Pitts Middle School. This is the least expensive option at $254 million.

The third option leaves the four high school system intact but replaces East and Centennial with smaller buildings that have a 1,000 student capacity. The estimated cost would be $267 million dollars. An alternative proposal would build 1,200 student capacity buildings at a total cost of $292 million dollars.

“If we do two brand new schools, in a sense everybody is starting new,” said Cheryl Martinez, a mom with kids enrolled in D-60.

Alicia Raebel also thinks it would be wise to consolidate the high schools. Her kids are in elementary school and she’s well aware of the problems with the buildings.

“It got so hot in school we had two fire alarms go off in the same day,” Raebel said. “I feel like, if we can provide better for them for the future, then we should be all for that.”

The community forums will be held at the following:

  • On Tuesday, April 2 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Administrative Services Center, 315 W. 11th Street.
  • On Tuesday, April 2 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Pueblo Convention Center, 320 Central Main Street.
  • On Wednesday, April 3 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Administrative Service Center, 315 W. 11th Street.
  • On Wednesday, April 3 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Pueblo Community College in the Fortino Ballroom, 900 W. Orman Avenue.