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Durango school district administration will have a new home

District finds new space after putting historic building up for sale three years ago; 9-R will move to Columbine Center in 2024
Outside the Columbine Center, which is currently occupied by Axis Health System’s Columbine Behavioral Healthcare Clinic. (Courtesy of Durango School District 9-R)

Durango School District 9-R administration and staff will have a new home starting in 2024.

The district announced its plan in a Thursday news release to move into the Columbine Center at 281 Sawyer Drive, Suite 100. The move comes nearly three years after the 9-R administrative building had been listed for sale.

The site, which was purchased for $1.1 million, 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 more into the building for space alterations that will better suit the district’s needs.

9-R Superintendent Karen Cheser said in the news release the district was happy to land at the Columbine Center after a long search in a challenging market.

“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,” Coleman said.

The current building, which is 43,984 square feet of space, is occupied by 45 district office staff members. The new location in Bodo Park is much smaller with 11,889 square feet of exclusive space and another 2,842 of shared space.

The district has also leased the 5,955-square-foot Parker Warehouse at 208 Parker Ave., Ste. 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,” Cheser said. “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.”

Most of the staff members will move to the Columbine Center in April and May, according to the release.

Departments moving to the Columbine Center include the superintendent, executive team, communications, curriculum and instruction, student support services, human resources, finance, and safety and security, along with the Durango Education Foundation.

The board of education’s regular meetings are expected to be held at the new Impact Career Innovation Center in early 2024.

It’s a poignant moment for the district, considering the history of the current administration building. The structure was built in 1916 and served as Durango’s high school building until 1976, and then became the administrative office.

It welcomed its first students in 1917, a few months before the U.S. entered World War I and was designed by the Colorado Springs architectural firm of Thomas MacLaren and Charles Thomas.


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