The Pueblo West View

D70 hopeful to land grant

Pueblo County District 70’s bid for a state BEST grant is looking good.

The district’s request for $3.2 million for fire protection safety upgrades at Pueblo County High School has been recommended for funding by the state school construction board.

The BEST, or Building Excellent Schools Today, grants were established as part of legislation to increase the level of financial support to school districts, charter schools and Board of Cooperative Educational Services for capital construction projects.

The program is designed particularly for school districts that can’t afford to meet their needs.

District 70’s grant request was one of 25 that has been forwarded to the Colorado State Board of Education for approval.

The state board is scheduled to vote on the $41 million in requests at its June 11 meeting.

If the District 70 request is approved, the grant will help offset the nearly $3.1 million cost of the additional fire protection, septic system and other safety measures that were required at County.

State fire code required the district to increase the water flow at County due to the construction of new additions to the school as part of the district’s $59.5 million bond program.

Division of Fire Protection inspectors determined the water flows to the school could not accommodate the building given the addition of a performing arts section, expansion of the commons and the new front entrance.

The district agreed to install two underground water holding tanks to accommodate the need.

After already-earmarked bond funds are applied, the BEST grant will pay the remaining $3.1 million portion of the fire protection project.

“This does not allow for additional projects, it does, however, help to fund the additional requirements needed to complete the projects as approved by the voters,” District 70 Director of Business Services Ryan Elarton said.

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