ALAMOSA School District was awarded a nearly $7.6 million BEST grant to improve heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) in its schools and for asbestos abatement at Ortega Middle School. The school district was notified of the award last Friday.

Alamosa Schools will contribute around $2.4 million in federal American Rescue Plan ESSER III funding as matching money to meet the total cost of just under $10 million to complete HVAC projects at Alamosa High, Ortega Middle School, and the two Alamosa Elementary buildings.

The asbestos removal at Ortega is first up and underway through the summer. Trane is the project manager under a contract approved in May by the Alamosa School Board.

“The requested BEST Grant project is focused solely on addressing safety and health concerns in each classroom at every school within the district,” said Alamosa Superintendent Diana Jones. “The use of the ESSER III funds in conjunction with the BEST Grant will provide quality air circulation and HVAC for all school buildings in the district. We are thrilled to be able to provide safe air quality for our staff and students.”

The state board of education awards BEST grants to improve health, safety, security and technology in Colorado’s public schools. 

Why it matters

Building ventilation became a top discussion point in tracking the spread of COVID-19. All the Alamosa school buildings fared poorly when the quality of air circulating in the buildings and individual classrooms were tested this past school year. Ortega is the worst of the buildings for air quality. That building also contained asbestos and an abatement project will be the first of the work to get completed.