Two years ago, when the Colorado State Land Board toured Columbine Middle School, it wasn’t the same place as it is today. On Thursday, the group came by for another tour, viewing the now state-of-the-art building, which was funded by a mill levy increase passed in 2016, as well as a state grant.
A number of land board commissioners, as well as Montrose County School District employees — Columbine Principal Ben Stephenson, Superintendent Stephen Schiell and Director of Property Services Philip Bailey — attended the tour. The board is responsible for earning the revenue that funds the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) Grant Program. Columbine was awarded $12.4 million to help fund its new facility.
The state land board manages a $4.1 billion endowment of assets for the benefit of Colorado’s kindergarten through 12th grades. The organization generates revenue by leasing nearly 3 million surface acres and 4 million subsurface acres for agriculture, grazing, recreation, commercial real estate, rights-of-way, renewable energy, oil, gas, and solid minerals.
The commissioners are governor-appointed. One commissioner is Montrose Mayor Pro Tem Barbara Bynum who serves as the board president. After four years with the organization, Bynum’s term will end this month.
The old school and the new one are like night and day, Colorado State Land Board Outreach and Communications Officer Kristin Kemp said, also praising Bynum.
“As a state land board commissioner, Barbara Bynum has been integral to our agency’s success as we earn more than $100 million annually that helps fund BEST at the Department of Education,” Kemp said.
“And collectively, we couldn’t be more proud to be down in this community, in Barbara’s community and see Columbine Middle School and the amazing facility that you all have here.”
The board was also proud to have made the funding possible for the school, Kemp said.