Aspen School District’s bond spending by the numbers |

Aspen School District’s bond spending by the numbers

Summer work will address facilities needs, impact campus operations

A sign in front of a staircase at Aspen High School indicates access is "temporarily closed for safety purposes" on Sunday, May 8, 2022. Safety and security improvements and maintenance are a high priority for the district as it allocates bond funding.
Kaya Williams/The Aspen Times

The Aspen School District has lots of bond-funded facilities work planned for this summer, with a bit less than half of $114 million already committed to projects, according to presentation slides from the agenda a June 13 virtual Board of Education meeting.

To date, the district has committed $46.2 million to the 10 project areas covered by the bond, according to the presentation; those areas all relate to various aspects of facilities work and staff housing initiatives. The district has spent about $18.7 million of that total through May.

Deferred maintenance, housing efforts and safety and security upgrades account for the lion’s share of committed funding to date.

The district has committed $18.5 million to deferred maintenance, a category that includes “the asset preservation and maintenance of the main educational buildings on campus,” according to the presentation.

Another $15.1 million already has been committed to housing acquisition, maintenance and upgrades and “an anticipated $27.5 (million) of future expenditures for additional housing acquisition, repairs, and upgrades are being prepared for further commitment,” according to the presentation.

The district has committed $5.2 million to safety and security updates and upgrades. Work will take place this summer and continue into 2023; plans include improved security at the vestibule entrances to the schools, improved bilingual signage and “a new integrated security system with improved access control and visual coverage of the buildings and campus,” the presentation slides stated.

That spending commitment to safety and security is up from the previous suggested target budget of $4.5 million that was presented earlier this year. The $18.5 million in deferred maintenance is on par with that category’s suggested target budget with the bond.

The district still has a long way to go on housing, which had an overall suggested target budget of $46 million for acquisitions and $9 million for repairs as of February.

Other spending areas have gotten smaller shares of the committed funding to date.

The district so far has committed $2.1 million to sustainability, $1.9 million to classroom and learning environments, and $1.9 million to the bus barn and buses. It also has committed about $900,000 to furnishings, $400,000 to athletics and recreation and less than $100,000 each to the District Theater and performing arts and to The Cottage preschool and district administrative offices.

Committed funding doesn’t represent all the bond money that will go to each category — just how much has been committed so far.

Sustainability’s committed spending is mostly in line with the suggested target budget from February, but for the rest of those smaller-ticket spending categories, the target budget for each is higher than the committed spending to date.

Some projects, like a revamp of The Cottage preschool and work on the District Theater, have been subject to modifications, cuts or narrower scopes as inflation drives up costs.

Plans for bond-funded building work include upgrades to the HVAC ventilation systems, electrical systems and fire alarm systems as well as “building envelope repairs” to infrastructure like the terrace at Aspen Elementary School. Crews will also do some other outdoor site work to address “grounds/landscaping repairs, drainage improvements, replaced sidewalks and increased snowmelt systems,” the presentation indicates.

Much of the facilities work will take place this summer with impacts on campus. The entire elementary school will be closed, and the middle and high school will accommodate some programs and offices with “partial building closures” to take place “throughout the year.”

People passing by or through campus should expect “extensive closures of roads, pathways, and sidewalks” as well as “limited parking/deliveries,” according to the presentation’s reminder from a June update.


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