Any given day can feel like a game of Tetris. I grew up enjoying the fast-paced challenge of Tetris: the thrill of quickly arranging moving pieces into an appropriate space, the disappointment of losing focus, and the tiles crashing down. The juggle of providing a high-quality education for our students, ensuring that educators have the appropriate skills and training to implement that high-quality education, addressing deferred maintenance projects, and adhering to ever-changing COVID restrictions reminds me of that game. As a competitive individual, I loved taking on a challenge then, and I love finding solutions and overcoming challenges today.
For the past few years, the Grace Best facility has been at the center of some of D38’s challenges. This past fall, the D38 Board of Education tasked district leadership with determining the fate of the Grace Best facility. As a result, we are in the process of developing a Facility Master Plan for Grace Best. The goal of this FMP is to create a plan to provide equitable access to a facility that addresses the needs of the students and community and identify the necessary funding options and/or opportunities for implementation.
D38 hired an owner’s representative, Anser Advisory/ Cooperative Strategies, in December 2020 through an RFP process to help with this project. We also formed a Steering Committee comprised of students, educators, parents, and community/business leaders. In January, we invited all D38 families, staff, and our community to help us in this endeavor. D38 included all interested individuals who applied by the Jan. 25 deadline to participate on this committee. Steering Committee meetings began last week.
The D38 Grace Best Steering Committee will host two Community Dialogue events (March 2 and April 14). You may find more information about these community events and current updates on this project at lewispalmer.org/GraceBestPlan. We will also post a community survey on this website. I hope when the time comes, you will provide your feedback either in person, virtually, or through the survey. This building is an asset that benefits our entire community. We want to hear every concerned voice so that we can provide the best recommendations on how to proceed to our Board in May.
D38 is not alone in addressing the needs of aging facilities. The average age of U.S. school buildings is 44 years. I believe the Grace Best facility will serve future generations as well as it has served this community for the past 70 years. Its proud legacy lays a solid foundation and strong motivation for developing creative solutions on how to best utilize this valuable resource.
I know this committee in collaboration with the Tri-Lakes community will generate great ideas. The challenge that is the Grace Best facility will be addressed as solutions take shape and fit into a comprehensive plan for moving forward.
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