No plans for Calkins facility

Renovation in limbo when grant money runs out

Calkins sits empty waiting for additional funding to finish the remodelling on the historical building. Enlargephoto

Journal/ Sam Green

Calkins sits empty waiting for additional funding to finish the remodelling on the historical building.

The Calkins School Building at First and Beech Streets remains vacant and will probably remain unoccupied for some time, Montezuma-Cortez School District Re-1 officials are saying.

The Calkins School Building was being used for the school administration site, but the administration moved to Elm Street at a former school a few years ago so renovations could be made to the building.

Where the money was going to come from for the renovations was and still remains the question.

Shannon Haltiwanger, communications manager for the Colorado State Historical Fund out of Denver, said the last grant Re-1 received for renovations for the historical building was in 2009 for $374,000.

Haltiwanger said this 2009 grant was the last of four grants Re-1 received. The four grants totaled $631,000.

Haltiwanger said organizations can still apply for funds from the State Historical Fund and the Colorado Department of Local Affairs for a few more months through the 2009 grant process that remains open.

School Board Re-1 President Tim Lanier said what the district plans to do with the building is not the question; the question is, where the funds are going to come from to make the repairs.

“It’s in limbo right now,” Lanier said. He said renovations are being made with the $374,000 it received from the State Historical Fund and the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, but those funds will be depleted soon, and this will result in more work needing to be completed with no way to pay for it.

“When this grant money ends we will have to shut down again,” he said.

Lanier said the initial plan was to make the repairs to the Calkins School Building so the school administration could move back into it.

He said while that was the original plan, the economy has shelved this idea — at least for a while.

Lanier said selling the building is likely not an option since Re-1 received grant funding to make renovations to the historical building, not to sell it to another organization.

“If we sell the building right now we would have to pay back some of the grant funding,” he said. Lanier also said he does not know how much it would have to repay if a sale occurred.

“We do not have enough money right now, and I do not think we ever will,” Lanier said in reference to continuing the repairs on the building.

Re-1 board member Pete Montaño concurred with Lanier on the initial plan of having the school administration move back into the building.

He said this plan was made when the economy was doing well.

He said selling the site might be a possibility, especially since the district will soon have no funds to continue the renovations.

Montaño added the Re-1 would need to talk with the State Historical Fund and the Colorado Department of Local Affairs to determine what its obligations would be.

“We can’t finish that project, so we could move into it,” he said. “We just don’t have the money.”

Montaño said it was his understanding the State Historical Fund and the Colorado Department of Local Affairs were funding the work for the renovations, but added those funds have dried up.

He said the Re-1 may have to put the building in mothballs until the board decides what to do with it.

Attempts to reach Michael Canzona, Re-1 chief of operations, were unsuccessful.

Michael Maresh can be reached at michaelm@cortezjournal.com