School District 51 enters into its second phase of major renovation projects. Eighteen schools have already been renovated, and that leaves just 22 schools to be renovated this summer. In November of 2004 voters okayed a $109 million dollar school bond issue to renovate existing schools and build five new schools. School District 51 Spokesperson Jeff Kirtland says the school bond issue projects are right on schedule and under budget. Kirtland says the district is under budget thanks to local contractors who are doing 80 percent of the work on the five new schools currently being built. Kirtland says they were also able to save money by utilizing building plans they already had.
The two schools being replaced are Bookcliff Middle School and the Career Center. Pear Park Elementary, Rimrock Elementary in Fruita and the Fruita 8–9 school are all new additions to School District 51.
Kirtland says with the grand valley's population steadily increasing the new schools were definitely needed. Kirtland says, "We have 20,600 students in School District 51 and growing, and where we are seeing a lot of the growth is really out here in the Fruita area and that's why the new schools are going to open up at capacity. We were hoping this wouldn't happen but it looks like it will." In 2004 voters also approved a 4 million dollar school bond issue that will be used to pay for everything from staffing the new schools to paying the electricity bills.
The five new schools are scheduled to be complete by January first of 2007. The 22 schools being renovated this summer should be complete in time for the first day of school next fall.