D51 lines up ducks for new Fruita elementary school

Cow graze in a field that could be the new home to a Fruita Elementary School on 18 1/2 Road at K 4/10 Road.

School District 51 leaders are making progress on the new elementary school in Fruita, with a property under contract and firms hired to design and construct the building.

The district is set to purchase 12 acres in the area of 18 1/2 and K 4/10 roads in Fruita, according to Assistant Director of Maintenance and Operations Eddie Mort.

The district already owns some land 1.5 miles northwest of the property, but that's too far out based on where the district's demographer predicts new population growth, Mort said.

District leaders also had to consider whether there were water and sewer lines on site.

"That was the biggest consideration, because to run water and sewer would drive up the cost," Mort said.

School board members have hired Chamberlin Architects to design the $25 million project and Shaw Construction to build it.

The school's design is still being finalized, said school board member Doug Levinson, with Superintendent Diana Sirko visiting a new elementary school in Glenwood Springs recently to get ideas.

"The whole goal has always been to have what we build built right, because whatever is there is going to be there for a long time," Levinson said.

The new school is expected to relieve over-capacity classrooms at Rim Rock and Loma elementary schools, with an enrollment anywhere from 350 to 500 students.

Levinson, who represents the Fruita area, said he's heard a lot of positive feedback about the board's decision to use remaining 2017 bond revenue and savings to build a new elementary school, as well as renovate Fruita Monument High School.

"I think a lot of people looked at it as one of those no-brainers that needed to be done, and fortunately we're in a situation where we could do that," he said.

Construction on the new school is set to start in July, Mort said, and is expected to be finished by August 2020.

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