Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Board of Education David Suppes, Chief Operating Officer Through: Trena Deane, Executive Director, Facility Management March 11, 2013
Approval of Fox Street/Hampden Heights land exchange
Purpose: approve the exchange and development agreements (“Agreements”) with the City and County of Denver that allows for the exchange of 1330 Fox Street for 11.7 acres of land in Hampden Heights.
Executive Director, Facility Management, requests the Denver Public Schools (“DPS”) Board of Education to
BackgroundRelated Facts: DPS staff and the Mayor’s Office have come to definitive terms for the land exchange of 1330 Fox Street (“Fox Street”) and 11.7 acres located in the Hampden Heights neighborhood at the corner of Girard Avenue and Havana Street (“Hampden Heights”).
Elementary schools located in southeast Denver have been experiencing severe overcrowding. DPS staff determined that elementary‐aged children would continue to grow over the next several years. Significant short‐term steps were taken to address the shortage of classroom seats in the region: 1) we have added three modular units at Samuels; 2) we redesigned the library at Southmoor to add a classroom; and 3) we moved fifth‐grade classrooms out of Holm and relocated them to a neighboring middle school, shuttling students back and forth hourly for special programming.
Despite these changes, the area is in need of a new elementary or early childhood center to help ease pressure on existing elementary school facilities in the area. Funding for a new elementary school in SE Denver was included in the 2012 General Obligation Bond package approved by Denver voters last November. DPS staff conducted a search for a site that would allow for a school or ECE center that would help lessen the overcrowding. After an extensive search, DPS located the 11.7 acre site at Hampden Heights. DPS staff began conversations with the City in an effort to understand if it was possible to purchase the site.
In early 2012, the Mayor’s Office made the establishment of a domestic violence center a priority. The center would offer a wrap‐around service delivery model for victims of domestic violence, provide integrated support and simplify the existing support process for over 3,000 people affected by domestic violence each year in Denver. Such a center includes support for victims and children affected by domestic violence.
As discussion progressed concerning Hampden Heights, the parties began discussing a land exchange of Fox Street for Hampden Heights. Fox Street is located ideally for such a domestic violence center being a few blocks from the Justice Center.
The benefits of a land exchange encouraged the parties to establish values for the properties and, towards the end of 2012, agree to material terms for the land exchange. During these discussions, the City discovered that some of the land at Hampden Heights was partly designated as part of the Hentzell Natural Area. Once this designation was fully understood, Denver Parks & Recreation began a de‐designation process which involved seeking input from the local community. The de‐designation from the Hentzell Natural Area was necessary to allow for the City to transfer the property to DPS.
In January 2013, the City concluded its de‐designation process, opening the path to concluding the land exchange agreement. The final terms of the agreement have been agreed to by the parties subject to DPS Board of Education and City Council approval.
Under the land exchange agreement, DPS will be paid, in addition to ownership of Hampden Heights $705,000. Ownership of Hampden Heights will be transferred to DPS no later than June 30, 2013. The majority of staff at Fox Street will move to the Downtown Campus with some staff with warehouse needs moving to the new warehouse. Such moves will occur as early as this summer.
Process: This executive summary and the proposed Agreement will be submitted to the Board of Education at the next meeting on March 21, 2013.
Recommendation: At the Board of Education’s meeting on March 21, 2013, the Board is asked to approve and execute the final Agreements, contingent upon all of the conditions referenced in this memorandum being met.
DPS staff recommends that the Board of Education approve the Contract to Exchange Property and the Development Management Agreement with the City and County of Denver involving land in SE Denver in Hampden Heights and the current DPS Administrative Facility located at 1330 Fox St.
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