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lewispalmer.org

Grace Best Education Center, 66 Jefferson St., Monument.

MONUMENT • As the Grace Best Facility Master Plan continues to develop, the plan’s steering committee reached a halfway point in its set of expectations.

Most recently, after the Lewis-Palmer School District Board of education was updated on the developing master plan during an April 6 workshop, a community meeting hosted by the Grace Best Steering Committee provided additional input from district stakeholders. The second of two “Community Dialogue” events was held virtually April 14 on the district’s Zoom platform. The first one was March 2.

The event was designed to give participating stakeholders an additional voice to the plan’s development after being presented data collected from a community survey, launched earlier in the year. Representatives from Anser Advisory and Cooperative Strategies, which the district contracted to aid and advise the development of the plan options and respective costs, shared the data findings with the board of education during the workshop.

Susan Miller, associate director of Cooperative Strategies, led the virtual community engagement and shared the same collected data with 36 online participants including district residents, steering committee members and members of the board. Miller started by going over the guiding principles for developing the master plan which include promoting equity, collecting data to drive toward a final vision, having community engagement develop each step, transparency throughout the process and ensuring all options for the aging facility “trade up” from its present use.

“It’s not going to be the status quo,” Miller said. “The concept is, what the learning environment needs to be like and is a lift for all students that are walking into that building. We need to make sure this is a qualitative process that improves the learning environment for children which may be using this facility.”

A total of 578 completed surveys were received from the community in the process, 576 of which were received in English and the remaining two in Spanish. Miller said they were pleased with the number of surveys received considering there are not that many students in the building. It demonstrated the number of persons interested in having a voice in the process, she said.

Parents with children currently enrolled in the school district accounted for 75% of the surveys collected. The remaining were students, teachers, staff and other community stakeholders. Miller said the diversity among the submitted surveys equaled the diversity of individuals on the steering committee.

“We think we had a great group of individuals who brought forth their voices,” Miller said. “It’s a good balance in terms of what we want with people participating.”

Approximately 60% of the collected surveys came from persons who had no prior engagement with the Grace Best facility as of yet. Those who did have engagement with the facility were an array of individuals involved in craft fairs, the homeschool enrichment academy, Bearbotics, Monumental Impact and the like, Miller said.

When asked to rank the possible future uses of the facility, Miller reported 264 surveys ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 for the facility to be used in lieu of career technology. Using the facility as a flex space was also ranked as No. 1 or No. 2 by 247 of the surveys received.

The virtual engagement event was broken into six separate “rooms,” asking participants what conclusions they would draw from the survey data, what information they may have and supporting data they would like the steering committee to be aware of, and in what ways does additional information align with the district’s strategic goals.

Miller said information collected from the breakout rooms would be presented to the steering committee the following week.

Find more information and updates on this project at lewispalmer.org/GraceBestPlan.

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