“After a long search in a challenging market, we are happy to close on the Bodo property,” said Superintendent Karen Cheser.
The site, located at 281 Sawyer Drive, Suite 100, was purchased for $1.1 million, and is currently occupied by Axis Health System’s Columbine Behavioral Healthcare clinic. The district’s Chief Operations Officer, Chris Coleman, said the district plans to invest a small amount into the building for space alterations that will better suit the district’s needs.
“While it is bittersweet to walk away from such a historic building, we know this is the right move for the district and the community at this time,” said Coleman.
The current Administrative Office is occupied by 45 district office staff in 43,984 square feet of space. The new location in Bodo Park has 11,889 square feet of exclusive space with another 2,842 of shared space – 14,731 sq ft total. The district has also leased the 5,955-square-foot Parker Warehouse at 208 Parker Ave., Suite A, in Bodo Industrial Park to house some staff members.
“Our Board has ensured that this purchase is a fiscally responsible choice for our district's needs. The location is still within city limits and a 10-minute drive of most of our schools,” said Cheser. “We are grateful that this new property has plenty of parking, individual office spaces, and a large conference room for staff and public meetings. It's going to be a great new place to work and visit.”
The majority of the staff will begin relocating to the Columbine Center location in April and vacate the old building by the end of May. The departments moving to the Columbine Center include: superintendent, executive team, communications, curriculum and instruction, student support services, human resources, finance, safety and security, and the Durango Education Foundation. Ten staff members from the facilities, custodial, and technology departments are in the process of moving this month to the Parker Warehouse location. Board of Education regular meetings, which are open to the public, are expected to be held at the new Impact Career Innovation Center in early 2024.
“Our goal is to have as seamless a transition as possible to allow our district team to continue to support our schools, staff, students, and the community at large with minimal disruption,” said Coleman.
The current historic building at 201 E. 12th St. was built in 1916 and served as Durango’s only high school until 1976, when it became the District Administrative Office. The district is planning a “107 Years of Education” public party in May with a curated artifact display to celebrate the history of the building. In June, the district will host an open house and ribbon-cutting at the new Bodo location for the public, staff and community members.
History of the building at 201 E. 12th St.
The Durango School District 9-R Administration Building is on the National Register of Historic Places (Oct 20, 2001) and the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties (Aug 8, 2001). It was constructed in 1916 and welcomed its first students in 1917, a few months before the United States entered World War I. High artistic values are embodied in this three-story, buff brick building extensively ornamented with terra cotta. Designed by the Colorado Springs architectural firm of Thomas MacLaren and Charles Thomas, the Classical Revival style building is the only collaborative effort in Durango by these two important architects. The three-story structure, which includes a no-longer used basement swimming pool, is located on prime real estate serving as the northern capstone of downtown Durango.
Administrative Office Relocation Timeline
- Dec 4, 2020: Board of Education announces the property at 201 E. 12th St. is for sale.
- Aug. 10, 2021: Board of Education approves sale of 4.3-acre campus, including the historic Administration Building and Big Picture High School, to the Durango Fire District
- Aug. 2, 2023: City approves land swap with fire district as new owners of the building. City Council members have said they intend to turn it into a civic center and police department in the coming years.
- Nov.15, 2023: District announces purchase of 281 Sawyer Drive, Suite 100, in the Columbine Center in Bodo Industrial Park. The lower level of this building is currently occupied by Axis Health System’s Columbine Behavioral Healthcare clinic. In April, AHS announced the sale and move of its staff to the Mercury Building, an 81,380-square-foot office building situated along the Animas River in south Durango.
- April-May 2024: School district staff will begin moving out of the old administrative office and into the Bodo location.