Avon, charter school stall on lease extension | VailDaily.com

Avon, charter school stall on lease extension

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado

AVON, Colorado – The town of Avon and Stone Creek Charter School officials still haven’t found an option to extend the school’s lease of town-owned land, but a lease extension agreement could still be possible.

The school’s lease expires June 30, and the town of Avon needs the land to temporarily relocate its Swift Gulch Road transportation facility in order for a new facility to be built next summer with $7.5 million in federal grant money and matching town funds.

John Goldstein, vice president of the Stone Creek Charter School’s board of directors, told the Avon Town Council Tuesday that school officials really want to continue working with the town to find a solution that works for both sides.

The school is seeking a new five-year lease in order to buy enough time to raise money to buy land for a new location. The school has already received two lease extensions since its 2006 one-year lease citing the same need – to raise money to buy land somewhere else, which the school has yet to do.

The town of Avon plans to use the charter school’s land as a construction staging area for two years, and a second phase of construction for the new Swift Gulch transportation and public works facility would mean the town needs the staging area for as long as five years.

An alternative staging site at the location of a future fire station on Nottingham Road doesn’t appear to be an option since the fire department would likely need the site by 2012.

Councilman Buz Reynolds brought up a site not far from the current Stone Creek Charter School, near Home Depot, that is now a vacant plumbing supply house, as a potential location for either a town staging site or a relocation of the charter school.

Incoming Councilman Chris Evans told council members that he walked the Swift Gulch site with Avon Public Works Director Jenny Strehler last week and it seemed that things, not people, needed to be relocated to a staging area during construction, which might make finding an alternative site easier because there would be less requirements for the site.

Evans suggested that the Town Council continue to talk about every option before determining there are no options.

“I find it hard to believe we can’t put our heads together to find alternative sites,” Evans said.

One of the concerns is related to costs, though, since Stone Creek Charter School would have to cover the costs of relocating to a staging site, as well as the costs of relocating out of the staging site in the future.

“You might be into $250,000-plus to buy two years,” Reynolds said.

Councilman Dave Dantas said he’d rather see the school spend that kind of money on buying a new piece of land.

Councilman Rich Carroll told Goldstein the town needs more assurance that the school is actually making “super-human efforts to find a permanent home.”

Goldstein said the school is stable and there’s no question enrollment will remain above 200 students next year, however a new lease could mean enrollment easily reaches 250 students, he said.

The town and the school plan to continue talks about alternative sites, although town officials have said there’s no guarantee that alternative sites can or will be found.

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