The heat is on

Middle school roof may be painted white

Keywords: Poll question,

What to do about cooling Cortez Middle School was the hot topic before the Montezuma Cortez School District RE-1 board on Tuesday.

Because the cost of a new air conditioner would be approximately $90,000, the board is leaning toward painting part of the roof white and later on converting seven air flow handlers into swamp coolers.

Mike Chenard, the district’s maintenance foreman, said a new air chiller would cost $40,000, but it would cost $35,000 in labor to install plus $15,000 for the use of a crane.

Cortez Middle School Principal Jamie Haukeness said he is very concerned about the situation. He fears the temperature in the classrooms could exceed 90 degrees.

The building’s roof is currently black, but painting part of it white or installing a reflective rubber membrane would significantly reduce the temperature inside the building, school officials believe. Chenard believes the temperature on the roof could drop as much as 20 degrees if it is painted.

On Friday, Chenard said the district can’t afford to paint the whole roof but is planning to paint around the air flow handlers if the district can get a good price. The painting would probably be done in the middle of next week, he said.

A black roof, which retains heat better, was installed on the building to help melt snow in the winter months.

There are 15 swamp coolers already being used at the high school, Chenard said.


Superintendent Alex Carter announced that an elderly couple donated $2,000 to Manaugh Elementary to be used for supplies. The couple wants to remain anonymous.

The board approved ballot language for a $21.25 million bond to build a new high school and athletic fields. An additional $22.72 million would be provided by a state BEST (Building Excellent Schools Today) grant if voters approve the bond on Nov. 6.

Food Service Director Sandi Vanhoutean told the board that the district will need to increase school lunch prices in the near future. A 25-cent immediate increase was discussed, but board members delayed making a decision. They want to hear from the Colorado Department of Education on whether there will be a penalty for not complying.

The district is partially subsidizing the cost of school lunches by taking money out of free and reduced lunch funds, Vanhoutean said. By waiting, the board could increase the cost for lunch by 50 cents at the mid-year point.

Currently, lunch costs $1.50 at the elementary schools and $1.75 at the middle and high schools. This is less than other area schools, particularly at the middle and high school level.