District 51 to pursue new Fruita elementary school

Rapid growth in Fruita population, school crowding prompt decision
Posted on 12/11/2018
construction workers

Fruita, CO– In a unanimous vote Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018, the District 51 Board of Education directed D51 staff to find an architect and a general contractor to design and build a new elementary school for the Fruita area. The board also directed staff to select and recommend a location for the new school at a future board meeting.

The need for a new elementary school in Fruita is evident in the city’s current and anticipated population growth. For example, approximately 400 new homes have been approved just this year in Fruita. Of the three elementary schools attended by Fruita residents, two – Loma and Rim Rock – are already past ideal capacity. Starting the process to build an additional school now would make it possible for the school to open as early as August 2020.

“We need to plan today for the growth that is coming to Fruita in the years to come. Building a new elementary school now will provide all Fruita students with a quality learning environment and help keep Fruita an appealing place to learn and grow,” said D51 School Board President Tom Parrish. 

The new elementary school will be built using an estimated $25 million from a combination of savings from bond projects that were completed on time and under budget by majority-local contractors, bond premiums and interest, and nearly $14 million in bond dollars that were earmarked for Orchard Mesa Middle School but will no longer be needed for that purpose due to a state Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) grant that will cover that amount.

The bond measure passed in 2017 will continue to be used for the purposes outlined in ballot language. Bond savings can be used for additional purposes on top of fulfilling bond items listed in ballot language, as was the case with 2004 bond savings used to construct Chipeta Elementary School in 2007-08.

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