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City, school at odds over vo ag project

Posted: Friday, Mar 8th, 2013

Courier editor

ALAMOSA — At least some members of the Alamosa city council are not happy with the direction the school is headed with its vocational-agricultural building.

During the council meeting Wednesday night, City Councilors Marcia Tuggle and Josef Lucero expressed concern over the prospect of the new school building being metal.

Alamosa Public Works Director Don Koskelin and Councilor Rusty Johnson attended a meeting this week with the contractor for the new Alamosa High School agricultural education building and sports complex, which is going to bid next week.

Koskelin said the school district plans to put up a metal-sided building for the ag building.

Councilor Tuggle said the city council made it clear in discussions with school representatives it did not want that building to be metal.

“We had that discussion,” she said. “We were not going to accept a metal building … I think we need to have further discussions on that because that’s not what we talked about.”

Councilman Lucero agreed that a metal building was unacceptable. He said the city council has been trying to discourage and mitigate metal buildings.

“We were led to believe the exterior of their building was not going to be metal,” he said.

Tuggle added, “I just feel we have been led astray.”

Tuggle asked what recourse the city might have.

“Do we still have a say in approving the project?” she asked.

Koskelin said the city does not have a metal building ordinance per se although the city does have standards about appearance in the downtown area. The city does not have anything in place prohibiting metal buildings, he said.

“We had that discussion, and we were pretty clear about it,” Tuggle said.

She said she thought the city council made it clear the new building should fit in with the existing school facility and the residential neighborhood. She said the school and city officials talked about this when the city was asked to support this project.

“We had a big talk about what we felt would be appropriate and what our expectations would be as a city … and now they have gone in a different direction, and I guess we are stuck with it.”

Koskelin said although the city can make recommendations, the school board is the governing body over this project, not the city council.

He added the planning commission and city council will approve or deny a permitted use by special review application from the school, but that permit has specific issues such as parking, setbacks and height, not building materials.

The school’s permitted use by special review application will come before the city council the second meeting in April.

Koskelin and Johnson also said they heard the contractor saying the school project might be over budget, possibly as much as $250,000.

Koskelin said so far the items the city has asked of the school district are included in the project. For example, the school district plans to complete Carroll Street from Craft to Maroon Drive.

Johnson said when the suggestion was made the city might amend its requirements of the school district, Koskelin was “steadfast” about the city’s position.

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