University Hill Elementary School

BVSD explores selling the Uni Hill Elementary campus to CU

(see unihillschoolfuture.org for the latest information on this issue)

Summary

In March 2016 the superintendent of Boulder Valley Schools announced that the school district was exploring the possibility of selling the University Hill Elementary campus to the University of Colorado.  The funds from the property sale plus bond money allocated for Uni Hill Elementary and New Vista High School would be used to construct a new Uni Hill School and a new New Vista High School, both on New Vista’s current campus.

The bond improvements to the current Uni Hill and New Vista schools, which Boulder Valley voters approved in 2014, were put on hold until March 2017. Time is running out for the district to make a potentially historic and irreversible decision.

The BVSD superintendent has repeatedly promised to engage the community in this proposal.  So far, he has failed to do so.  Serious, well-documented concerns have been expressed by Historic Boulder, the League of Women Voters, the Uni Hill Neighborhood Association, members of the Uni Hill school community, and other stakeholders, yet BVSD officials have not shared details of the long-term plan nor have they encouraged public input.

In May at a BVSD/CU Collaboration Team meeting, discussion of the possible sale of the Uni Hill campus was not allowed.  The Daily Camera reported that, “Teachers, staffers, parents and students at New Vista and Uni Hill are feeling uneasy about the potential changes that would come with the real estate deal.”

In July the League of Women Voters expressed their concern that the potential sale of the school was a significant departure from the bond projects that voters had approved in 2014. A League representative said they needed to “make sure that the public is aware of the plans and [make sure that] the school district is up front with the community.” The superintendent responded that, “The community would have the opportunity to comment to the [school] board publicly at the [two separate public school board] meetings” held “if BVSD and the University decide to move forward with the sale of the University Hill property.”

In early November the superintendent announced that the district had commissioned a “feasibility study” by an architectural firm that was to be completed by early 2017. He added that he was “encouraging the two schools to start talking about potential program changes,” but BVSD leaders have also said that the appropriate time for stakeholders to provide public input is after the feasibility study is complete.

In December the Uni Hill Neighborhood Association requested to be included in discussions of the future of Uni Hill Elementary, but they have not yet been invited to do so.

In January 2017 Historic Boulder voiced their concern about the potential sale, noting that the University has “repeatedly demolished or removed buildings that were eligible for the National Register of Historic Places” and is not required to adhere to local landmark ordinances. Historic Boulder also asked to be included in the discussions of the future of Uni Hill Elementary.

Several letters to the editor and a guest opinion have appeared in the Daily Camera about this issue; there has been no published response from BVSD officials.  You can see all the publicly available information at the unihillschoolfuture.org website.

What you can do

Concerned citizens who would like transparency of process and the opportunity to provide input before the decision is made to sell the school should contact the Boulder Valley School Board (bvs.board@bvsd.org), the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee (http://bond.bvsd.org/cboc/Pages/default.aspx), and the Daily Camera (http://www.dailycamera.com/submit).

Upcoming Events

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Recent News and Blog Posts: 

Please Note: The views and opinions expressed in the following articles are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Boulder Neighborhood Alliance.
  • Boulder Valley backing away from plan to sell Uni Hill Elementary to CU Boulder – Boulder Daily Camera The Boulder Valley School District is backing away from a plan to sell the University Hill Elementary building to CU, Superintendent Bruce Messinger said at Tuesday’s school board meeting. The administrative recommendation not to move forward came after the board discussed a feasibility study on the plan Tuesday in a closed-door session to allow for ...
  • Gail K. Gray: BVSD should respect Uni Hill Elementary’s landmark status Recent articles in the Daily Camera reported that the Boulder Valley School District may sell the University Hill Elementary School to the University of Colorado. This magnificent building and city landmark has been part of the University Hill community of Boulder since 1905, both as a functioning and vibrant school and a focal point for ...
  • Hector Urroz: BVSD should take a deep breath on Uni Hill Elementary …Unfortunately, the school district is rushing towards a sale of the building and has not communicated very skillfully, nor made a convincing argument for abandoning Uni Hill’s rich tradition in favor of relocating to a to-be-built facility near New Vista High School. … I urge BVSD to take a deep breath, make time to organize ...
  • University Hill School – 1/18/17 CBOC Meeting Report A report from the BVSD Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee (CBOC) meeting on January 18, 2017, regarding the potential sale of the University Hill Elementary School to CU. Dear Neighbors, Thank you to Celeste Landry for monitoring and spearheading challenge to possible loss of University Hill Elementary School. Ten neighbors attended and spoke. As a result of the testimony Committee is recommending ...
  • Uni-Hill Elementary School at risk — speak out this Wednesday at 5:30 Dear neighbors,   As you may have heard, the school district is considering selling the Uni Hill Elementary School campus to CU, and CU won’t disclose what they would do with the property.  All CU property is State of Colorado land not subject to Boulder jurisdiction so it is not bound by the city’s historic designation and ...
  • Kathy Guyton: BVSD should be up front about Uni Hill Elementary  It is hard to believe that the Boulder Valley School District administration really believes it is doing the best thing for students by selling off University Hill Elementary School to CU. If they did, they wouldn’t be so sneaky about it. Source: Kathy Guyton: BVSD should be up front about Uni Hill Elementary – Boulder Daily ...
  • Celeste Landry: Unanswered questions for the Boulder Valley School District The Boulder Valley School District is considering changing University Hill Elementary’s educational program, range of grade levels and location. … A joint letter issued by BVSD and CU after the May 16 meeting stated, “The planning group will meet again in June to further the discussion and prioritize opportunities. There is a strong desire to include parents and ...
  • Allyn Feinberg and Felicity Wong: Walking back on BVSD’s 2014 promise When you travel on I-25 in Denver, you can’t miss the Broncos’ Mile High Stadium. It dominates the landscape. And, when you travel on Broadway in Boulder, it’s hard to miss the grand, historic University Hill Elementary building across the street from CU. … Boulder Valley School District voters consented to renovating Uni Hill as part of ...