Steamboat Springs School District was ranked number 4 in the State of Colorado in 2020, ahead of other mountain resort communities such as Summit (ranked # 5), Aspen (ranked #7), Vail (ranked #19), and Telluride (ranked # 11)*. In November 2019, voters approved a $79.5 bond to fund investments in all existing Steamboat Springs School District (SSSD) schools. The bond also funded the brand-new Sleeping Giant School, located in the Steamboat II neighborhood just west of downtown that will serve students from preschool through eighth grade.
“Anytime you put something on the ballot that involves a tax increase, it’s a challenge,” says Dr. Brad Meeks, Superintendent of SSSD. “In 2019, the voters approved it, and thanks to them, we have the resources to do these major construction projects.”
Sleeping Giant School is currently under construction and scheduled to open August 2021. “It’s the first new school that has expanded the district’s capacity to serve students since Strawberry Park Elementary and Middle Schools were completed in 1981,” Meeks says. All schools in the district are undergoing renovation and expansion projects thanks to the funds made available by the bond initiative, which according to Meeks, came just in time.
Steamboat is an attractive place to live, and there are a lot of new housing development projects that are bringing in more families. “We have seen our classrooms and hallways swell beyond their intended capacity in recent years,” Meeks says.
Growth and development west of town will be served by Sleeping Giant at the junction of Highway 40 and County Road 42. “The location of the school is well suited for Steamboat’s future growth, which is moving in that direction. But more immediately, opening Sleeping Giant will relieve crowding in grades K-8 throughout our district. It will improve the experience for all of our K-8 students and their teachers,” Meeks says.
Sleeping Giant is the district’s first K-8 school, but families can expect the same high-quality experience that SSSD schools are known for. The district is committed, Meeks says, to ensuring that the quality of instruction and educational environments are equitable across all district schools.
While Sleeping Giant School is garnering a lot of attention for being new, there are several other large-scale renovation projects currently underway, including a 10,000 square-foot, 2-story addition to Steamboat High School, a 2-story addition to Soda Creek Elementary School, and many other facility upgrades across the district to accommodate music and art programs. “Each building is getting significant improvements, even our district office, which houses Yampa Valley High School and the Boys & Girls Club of Steamboat Springs. There’s something for everyone to be excited about,” Meeks says with a chuckle.
Preschool facilities and programs have also been added at all district elementary schools to expand access in the community and provide a more seamless transition to kindergarten. “Preschool is key to setting students up for success,” Meeks says.
How was all this accomplished in the midst of a pandemic? Rigid safety protocols on the job site as well as a dedication by construction workers to follow them, kept the virus at bay, favorable weather, and “Lots of Zoom meetings,” Meeks says. After a year of challenges surrounding the pandemic, Meeks is looking forward to being able to debut Sleeping Giant School and all the other renovation projects in person. “We’re excited to welcome the public in,” Meeks says. “There’s no better way to thank them for supporting the schools than being able to show them how they are being used to support the success of the students in our community.”// buildingforthefuture.ssk12.org
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