PUEBLO — Before the COVID-19 pandemic, voters in Pueblo School District 60 approved a $218 million bond measure to build two high schools and make other improvements across the district. Despite the challenges posed by the virus, the bond projects have continued without major interruption.
"We've been able to continue through the pandemic. We're learning some news to do like virtual meetings and things like that, but we've adapted and everything is on track," said Bob Larson, the district’s executive director of facilities and construction management.
Groundbreaking on the two new high schools is still planned for March and wrapping up the middle of 2023. Demolition will start and schools will open in the fall.
"The demolition at the closed Heroes school has been completed. The contractors are pulling down the fences then they're going to start seeding the area where the school is at. We also have projects like the sidewalk repairs at Highland Park, those are all completed. We have a number of other projects that are well underway and moving along," said Larson.
With the new improvements, the district is looking to become more energy-efficient and improve air quality in the buildings.
"The two schools that are getting the VRF System they've never had air conditioning, so that will bring air conditioning into those schools," said Larson.
The bond measure also created a Citizens Bond Advisory Committee that oversees how the funds are spent.
"The whole goal of the committee is to monitor the expenses by a project by project, building by building basis against the overall bond budget," said Mike Donnell, Citizens Bond Advisory Committee.
The committee working closely with the district to ensure every penny goes where it is supposed to.
"We made some suggestions that they adopted with a new template for how the money is presented so that we could track it a little easier on our side," said Donnell.
The district says it was important to have committee and community input throughout the process. To keep everyone updated, the district held town hall and design advisory group meetings.
"We wanted to make sure that we listened to everyone and that has been true throughout the process of the high school projects, it'll be the same with the elementary school projects," said Larson.
For anyone interested in learning more about the bond projects, there are renderings and virtual tours on the district's website.