District purchases former BMX track property for $705,000
By John Gardner
The Thompson School District is now the proud owner of the land known locally as the Berthoud Common property.
The district agreed to purchase the 8.6 acres from the Town of Berthoud for $705,000. According to a memo from the district regarding the purchase, school policy states the site acquisition calls for administration to select school sites in response to development within the school district. An associated regulation clarifies school capacity standards establishes that high school sites are to be 45 acres in area.
Berthoud High School currently occupies 36 acres. This acquisition brings the schools land to 44.6 acres and will allow for future expansion.
Thompson School District’s chief operations manager, Dan Maas, called the decision a “sustainable purchase” at the June 17 board meeting.
“If we don’t acquire this piece of property we are setting ourselves on a path that I think will mean that if the community outgrows Berthoud High School, we’ll have to find a whole new site and build a whole new high school,” Maas said.
Maas indicated the property would help facilitate expansion by allowing sports fields to be relocated to this property which would in turn allow expansion of the current building on existing property.
Berthoud Administrator Mike Hart is happy to have a deal finalized on this particular piece of property.
“I think it’s a great thing for the town, and it’s great for the district to own that piece of property,” Hart said.
The property was purchased by the town in 2000 for $500,000 and was meant to be the site of a recreational facility. However, since then the town has purchase more suitable sites for a recreation center and has considered this property surplus for years. It also housed a popular BMX track for several years until it was dismantled by the town in 2014. The land was nearly sold to a developer in early 2014 for a reported $600,000; however, the deal disintegrated after the potential buyer backed out.
Proceeds from the sale will be earmarked for construction of a future recreation center, according to Hart. A previous town board set aside $425,000 for the construction of a future community center. However, that money was used to purchase the Richardson property and some additional open space property, Hart said. The money from this sale will ultimately refill that original allotment and add some to be used along with a $500,000 endowment from the Doyle and Luvesta Jones Bequeath on that project. The endowment is set to expire at the end of 2017, according to Hart.
Town trustees approved the sale of the property at its May 26 meeting. Thompson School District Board of Education approved the sale of the property at its June 17 meeting.
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