For Immediate Release
Communications Director & Public Information Officer
Colorado Treasurer Dave Young Statement on Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) Grant Recipient Huerfano RE-1
Groundbreaking ceremony for the new Walsenburg Junior Senior High
“This new school shows a great partnership between Huerfano School District and the BEST program, and symbolizes our commitment to educational excellence for every child in Colorado. It marks the beginning of a new era in how we educate children in our community. Preparing our students for the rest of their lives has never been more important than right now.
The BEST Program is a critical funding partner to make building in rural areas more affordable to the community. This is a place where our children will have the tools to realize their dreams and potential. The new school will be a game changer in how we educate children and will continue to make Walsenburg appealing to families for decades to come.”
Colorado State Treasurer and former K-12 educator Dave Young
“A Groundbreaking Ceremony! What an incredibly exciting day for the Huerfano Re-1 community, our taxpayers, employees and students. There are many people to thank for supporting our dreams and visions of a new Walsenburg Jr/Sr High School. Many of these people will be recognized at the ceremony although I must pay tribute to and give our overwhelming gratitude to the taxpayers for supporting our quest for a BEST grant. Without your support, a groundbreaking would not be possible. You have created great opportunities for the children and all the Huerfano Re-1 family. Let the construction begin!”
Michael Moore, Superintendent of Huerfano School District
Huerfano RE-1 School District
The district currently operates out of two buildings, Peakview School which is a PK-6 school and John Mall High School which now contains grades 7-12. Built in the 1970's, John Mall High School’s building is failing and was determined to need replacement as soon as feasible. The district and community passed a bond election in 2020 and secured over $2 million in competitive BEST Grant matching contributions from the Colorado Department of Education.
The project will begin with construction of the new Walsenburg Junior Senior High and upon completion of that building, the existing John Mall High School will be demolished to make room for new outdoor recreational and instructional areas. The new building will continue to house 7th through 12th graders, but in a brand new 56,000 square foot facility.
BEST (Building Excellent Schools Today) Grant Program
BEST is the only K-12 capital construction grant program in the state of Colorado.
BEST grants are funded through local matching dollars, State Land Board, Lottery, and excise tax revenues. This partnership has helped us to generate over $3.4 billion in school construction projects in almost every district in the state, improving the learning environments of hundreds of thousands of students. In FY 2022 alone, BEST generated more than $500 million in projects that created or supported almost 10,000 jobs.
Established in 2008 with the signing of House Bill 08-1335, BEST provides an annual amount of funding in the form of competitive grants to school districts, charter schools, institute charter schools, boards of cooperative educational services, and the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind. BEST funds can be used for the construction of new schools as well as general construction and renovation of existing school facility systems and structures.