Bond Committee shows off failing science building

HIGH SCHOOL Science Teacher Dave Hopcia shows a small group Thursday where the emergency shut-off valve is in the Science Building. He told the group having to use a tool to shut the gas off simply isn’t safe.


A handful of people toured the Dolores school facilities last week as the 3C Bond Committee pointed out where money from the bond will improve school facilities.

The first stop was the science building.

“This is the science lab,” announced Dave Hopcia, Dolores High School Science Teacher. “It is not very safe in here.”

Hopcia grabbed a wrench and showed those on the tour where the emergency shutoff valve is for the gas. He also pointed out that there is only one lab at the high school and that the small lab was designed for 16 students, while he has about 22 students per class.

He also pointed to the eye wash station. It doesn’t work properly, water dribbles out the faucet.

“Safety is definitely an issue,” he said. “I’m still really cautious when we have kids in here though.”

On Nov. 6, registered voters in the Dolores School District attendance boundaries will have the chance to vote on 3C, Dolores School District’s Bond initiative that asks for a $3.47 million bond to get a matching $2.62 million BEST grant.

District officials decided years ago that the science building is failing and is in need of replacement. The destruction of the current building and the construction of new science/vocational classrooms on the east end of the main high school building will cost $3.7 million, the largest chunk of the $6 million in projects on the BEST grant list.

New science buildings will have labs in the classrooms.

“That is a big deal,” Hopcia said.

That means that a teacher can set up for a lab prior to a lesson and not have to worry about another class that may come in because the lab is currently shared.

The corners of the cinder block-constructed science/vocational building were not tied together properly, because of this the walls are currently being held together by a steel plate and very large bolts, Superintendent Scott Cooper was quick to point out.

Because the building is shifting, students can peer outside and into other classrooms through cracks in the walls, often the only glimpse outdoors for this windowless building.

The vocational/agricultural building also suffers from the poor cinder block construction.

“Sometimes when it rains hard, there is a water fall over that door,” Dolores High School Principal Brandon Thurston pointed out.

Right next to the door is the control panel for the building’s electronics.

“This is worrisome,” he said.

“We are just trying to recreate a safer environment for our kids,” Thurston said.

The bond committee also breezed through the locker rooms, some of the shower stalls haven’t been used in years. The biggest problem, Cooper pointed out, is that away teams don’t have locker rooms and middle school and high school athletes have to share locker rooms.

If passed, 3C will allow the school district to remodel the locker rooms at a cost of $403,629. When finished, away teams will no longer have to change in the library and a connection will be built allowing people to pass between the two gyms without having to go through the locker rooms, Cooper pointed out.

Also in the project list is a elementary school addition that will connect the elementary school to the cafeteria building, which also includes the library and the computer lab.

This will not only add classroom space, at a cost of $619,874, but will take care of the drainage problems in the area.

“This is usually just a big block of ice in the winter,” Cooper pointed out.

Cost Summary of 3C:

1. Science/Vocational Addition $3.7 million

2. Elementary School Addition to Commons $619,874

3. Two Classroom Addition between Middle School and Music $485,624

4. Remodeling of Locker Rooms $403,629

5. Site Drainage Corrections $154,725

6. New Sidewalks and replacing damaged sidewalks $94,718

7. Additional Building fire sprinkler system $295,457

8. CDE mandated unforeseen circumstances $289,984

SUPERINTENDENT Scott Cooper shows the steel bars, attached to a steel plate on the inside, which are holding the walls together in the Science Building. The walls were not properly joined, he said, and as a result the building is held together with the steel plates and is shifting, causing the roof to leak badly. Enlargephoto

SHANNON LIVICK/STAR

SUPERINTENDENT Scott Cooper shows the steel bars, attached to a steel plate on the inside, which are holding the walls together in the Science Building. The walls were not properly joined, he said, and as a result the building is held together with the steel plates and is shifting, causing the roof to leak badly.

THE BACK of the Science Building shows cracks in the walls and a separation of the sidewalk from the foundation. If 3C passes, school officials will build new science and vocational classrooms and tear down this building. Enlargephoto

SHANNON LIVICK/STAR

THE BACK of the Science Building shows cracks in the walls and a separation of the sidewalk from the foundation. If 3C passes, school officials will build new science and vocational classrooms and tear down this building.

IF 3C passes, a connection and classrooms will be build from this end of the elementary school, to the lunch area/library/computer room. Enlargephoto

SHANNON LIVICK/STAR

IF 3C passes, a connection and classrooms will be build from this end of the elementary school, to the lunch area/library/computer room.

DOLORES HIGH SCHOOL Principal Brandon Thurston stands inside the shop building and points out a water leak. During heavy rains, water cascades over the door near the electrical supply, he said. Enlargephoto

SHANNON LIVICK/STAR

DOLORES HIGH SCHOOL Principal Brandon Thurston stands inside the shop building and points out a water leak. During heavy rains, water cascades over the door near the electrical supply, he said.