Montrose City Hall

City of Montrose, Montrose County School District

March 15, 2018

City of Montrose
Office of City Manager
433 S. 1st St. Montrose CO, 81401

Contact: Kendall Cramer
Innovation and Citizen Engagement, City of Montrose
970-497-8531   |    |

Contact: Philip Bailey 
Director of Property Services, Montrose County School District
970-249-2653   |    |

New Educational Playground Approved at Columbine Campus

Montrose, CO –  A new outdoor educational park and playground will become reality at Columbine Middle School after it was awarded a $110,000 grant this week from the Great Outdoor Colorado’s (GOCO) School Yard Initiative Program. The GOCO Board announced their decision Thursday.

The grant funds represent the bulk of the projected $161,043 construction cost. The new park is a component of Columbine's new campus set to open in this fall. The project is a collaboration between the Montrose County School District (MCSD) and the City of Montrose.

"It is an unbelievable opportunity when you can collaborate with City of Montrose and be awarded with this to improve the new school even more. This park will allow our students and staff to have outdoor activities and will become a place for our school to use and our community to use," said MCSD Superintendent Stephen Schiell.

The school district and the city submitted the grant application to GOCO in January. The project is designed to enhance the Columbine campus as construction of the new school facility moves toward completion later this year.

GOCO, in announcing its decision Thursday, said, "for 58 years, Columbine has only had two basketball hoops and a few foursquare courts, providing few opportunities for students to play outside. Eager to better serve its student population, Columbine will create the school’s first true playground, based on a student-led design process.

The proposal to GOCO ranked as the highest out of 14 applications submitted during the funding round of the grant process. The grant requires the new park to consist of a variety of nature-based and educational components that include a climbing boulder, obstacle course, group net swing and individual swings, native landscape learning areas with elements of the region’s ecosystems, boulder benches, tree identification markers, a weather station, a gaga ball court, bench rest areas, playground surfacing, and a welcome sign with playground rules.

"The kids are the ones who deserve the credit for getting this grant," said Montrose County School District Director of Property Services Philip Bailey. "We got them involved early in the process, and they came up with ideas and solutions and budget. This park will help them learn about the outdoors by being outside. And that is what this was designed to do; get them outside, exercise and let them be kids.”

The partnership began in 2017 when the City Council authorized a land swap with the school district for property in front of Columbine Middle School.  The city agreed to exchange 1.195 acres — a portion of Rotary Park — to the district in exchange for .133 acres located in front of the existing school building. The playground will be constructed on .913 acres of land near the intersection of South 12th Street and Mesa Avenue. The estimated value of the city’s contribution to the intergovernmental agreement with the school district is estimated at $34,000.

"I’m quite excite about this," Montrose Mayor Judy Ann Files said. "For that middle school to have their first ever playground is something that will bring many benefits to everyone there.”

"It’s been really good to have the students involved in the process of getting that grant," she added.

As part of the school’s Problem-Based Learning approach, seventh-grade students were tasked with presenting their playground ideas and cost estimates to a panel that consisted of their eighth-grade peers, teachers, administrators, and other community members. Students also created a survey to gather input from their peers and the community.

In total, nearly 200 students presented conceptual designs and cost estimates to their peers, school administrators, parents, and community members to bring their vision to life, according to a GOCO news release.

Upon completion of the park and playground, teachers will have the opportunity to take students outside and use the natural environment for their classes where students will learn about animals, plants, trees, various types of rocks, and weather. Students will be encouraged to become lifelong ambassadors for living physically active lifestyles, as well.

To date, GOCO has invested $5.8 million in projects in Montrose County and has conserved more than 3,700 acres of land there.

Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) invests a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds to help preserve and enhance the state’s parks, trails, wildlife, rivers, and open spaces. GOCO’s independent board awards competitive grants to local governments and land trusts, and makes investments through Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Created when voters approved a Constitutional Amendment in 1992, GOCO has since funded more than 5,000 projects in urban and rural areas in all 64 counties without any tax dollar support. Visit for more information.

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About the City of Montrose 

For information, visit  Follow the city on Facebook ( and Twitter (@montrosegov).  City Hall is located in downtown Montrose at 433 South First Street and may be reached at 970-240-1400. Hours of operation are Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.

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