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Publish Date: 4/7/2005

Charter leases approved
SVVSD supports Flagstaff, Carbon Valley building fixes

LONGMONT — After three appearances on recent St. Vrain Valley Board of Education agendas, Flagstaff Academy and Carbon Valley Academy charter schools finally received the approval they were seeking Wednesday.

The school board approved the schools’ building leases, paving the way for architects and builders to get into the buildings to refurbish them in time for the first day of school Aug. 22.

It’s been a roller-coaster two years for Flagstaff Academy; it first had its charter denied by the St. Vrain board, then succeeded in its appeal to the state Board of Education and got a second chance to work out its problems with St. Vrain.

Flagstaff had until the end of March to sign a lease on a building, but all documents were not in order in time, so a special board meeting was called Wednesday morning.

The school board approved the school’s lease at 1841 Lefthand Circle in south Longmont after discussing concerns about whether the property was zoned for a school.

Members of Flagstaff’s board of directors assured the district board they had talked with Longmont city planners and were assured their location was zoned properly, said Jennifer Dauzvardis, secretary of Flagstaff’s board.

“We’re thrilled,” she said after the approval.

Flagstaff President Karen Fidelak said, “It’s been a long journey.”

Carbon Valley Academy, which will be in Frederick and will serve the Tri-Towns, had problems similar to Flagstaff’s.

The school board approved the lease with Carbon Valley but expressed concerns that the property at 4040 Coriolis Way, which the school will sublease, is being sold.

“We met with the prospective buyer, and we are all on the same page,” said Chad Auer, chairman of Carbon Valley’s board.

He added that the sale of the building does not affect the three-year sublease Carbon Valley signed with the current tenant.

The town of Frederick told Carbon Valley at the end of March that it couldn’t use the building, but Auer responded that the town’s actions were not legal.

Rick Samson, Frederick’s town attorney, told the board that the town withdrew its objection and the school’s site plan would be heard by the town planning commission tonight, but the process is only a formality.

Frederick trustees expressed concerns about having a school in an industrial building in a primarily industrial area, Samson said, particularly when the town is trying to boost economic development in the area.

The town and school board members also were concerned about student safety because of the vehicle traffic associated with industrial areas.

The two-story brick building does not have sidewalks and is close to Interstate 25.

Carbon Valley’s facility committee discussed every option and decided the Coriolis Way building was “as safe as any available,” Auer said.

The building is on a cul-de-sac next to 6 acres of vacant land that is slated to become additional industrial space.

The school’s sublease is for three years, after which the school will decide whether it wants to make the site its permanent home.

Auer said he was glad the board approved Carbon Valley and Flagstaff’s lease agreements.

“I think after all the work both organizations have been through, it was really good news and a relief in some ways,” Auer said.

Paula Aven Gladych can be reached at 303-684-5211, or by e-mail at pavengladych@times-call.com.

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