FAQS

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ABOUT THE NUMBERS

How does the $13.1 million campaign budget break down?

 

  • $4.2M BEST challenge grant (secured August, 2012)
  • $4.9M BEST grant match (secured May 1, 2013)
  • $4M Campaign balance (Phase II)
  • $13.1M Campaign Total

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Why has the campaign/construction budget gone up by $1.5M?

The original master plan was expedited in 2009/10 to meet the BEST Grant deadline and at the time we weren’t able to adequately contemplate the educational uses that exist today — as our verification process in 2014 revealed. There was also a gap between the budget assumptions of that time and construction realities today. For example, square footages for the school increased as we sought to accommodate an additional 5-8 classroom (one more than we had in 2010) and an art classroom in the main building (current best practices). These two spaces added approximately 2,000 sf, and the attendant costs, to our design.

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Why don’t you just expand the student body to make the numbers work?

ACS’s small school roots date back to its founding in 1970 as a community of learners dedicated to experiential, interdisciplinary learning in an intimate, nurturing setting — a philosophy that is supported by a small school. This size continues to be essential to ACS’s success. Our size is also limited by both our charter contract and Pitkin County restrictions.

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What does Phase II funding cover?

The $4M in Phase II funding will allow for the full realization of the campus, including elements such as:

  • Music and Science learning center
  • Pedestrian-centric campus
  • Green spaces for playing fields, outdoor classrooms, sledding hill and school commons
  • Four employee housing units
  • LEED Gold-targeted sustainability upgrades
  • Compass administration building remodel

Conversely, if the school does not meet its campaign goals, these valuable assets will be left on the cutting room floor.

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What happens if we don’t raise the money (final Phase II funds)?

We always knew we had to raise an additional $2.5 million above and beyond the BEST Grant to realize our dreams for a new campus. If we don’t raise the Phase II funds (now at $4 million, as explained above), there are two worst-case scenarios: stop with an incomplete project or go into debt. Obviously, neither of these are good options. We have to be successful at fundraising to do this and it’s going to take all of us. You can help the campaign by:

  • talking up the school and the campus construction
  • showing community support – be an ambassador for the school
  • sharing digital news with your friends
  • connecting the campaign with prospective donors
  • sending in or making your multi-year pledge

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Why are we fundraising for playing fields?

From the beginning of this project, we knew the site was equally as important as the buildings. We intentionally selected a design team that had a landscape architect (not all of them do). We have honored this spectacular piece of property by making the landscape a focal part of our design.

With that in mind, we’ve had a consistent goal to create a pedestrian-centric, outdoor campus experience. The new site plan absorbs the existing playing field for the main school building and bus drop-off area. It is vital that we get traffic and cars out of the center of campus, so we are swapping our existing parking lot for the future home of our playing field. This will need to be landscaped, irrigated and laid with sod. It is part of our vision to create campus greens on the limited topography available at the center of the school. The beauty of this design is that the Early Childhood Center and gym will be directly adjacent to the playing field.

 

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Does this include anticipated maintenance for the school, and how will that affect the school’s annual budget?

The budget does include projected costs for regular maintenance of buildings and systems, which is required by the BEST grant and is part of our due diligence as a responsible nonprofit organization. We also anticipate that the increase in energy efficiency will help to offset some of the increase in maintenance. Finally, we have taken into account inflation and built in contingencies, which, combined, has resulted in very conservative estimates for building and running a sustainable campus.

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Is this master plan reasonable and responsible?

Yes, not only are we repurposing as many buildings as we can, the additional square footage amounts to just over 5,000 square feet. Comparing the school’s growth patterns, per capita square footages, and size of other schools tells a story of modest growth:

Total facilities square footage (s.f.) =

  • 16,652 at ACS today
  • 21,870 at ACS tomorrow (with build-out)
  • Net gain: 5,218
  • Increase: 31%

Student body size =

  • 80 at ACS in 1972
  • 127 at ACS today and tomorrow
  • Increase: 59% 1972 to 2012
  • Increase: 0% 2012 to build out

Per student s.f. =

    • 131 at ACS today
    • 172 at ACS tomorrow
    • Increase: 31%

Compare to:

  • 253 at Aspen Elementary School
  • 241 at Aspen Middle School

Avg. Classroom s.f. =

  • 375 at ACS today
  • 475 at ACS tomorrow
  • Increase: 27%

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