GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) — Last March, District 51 voted to close East Middle School permanently following the 2022-2023 school year. The closure was due to “declining enrollment and loss of funding tied to loss of student enrollment.”

“School closures are not something anyone wants to do,” Hill said in a statement following the decision. He emphasized that the closure was “for reasons plaguing our district that are outside of [East Middle School’s] control.”

Tuesday’s school board meeting revealed that the closure resulted in $1.3 million dollars in recurring, annual savings for the district. After the closure, 28 of the 432 former East Middle School students are no longer enrolled in District 51.

The board plans to hold community meetings to gather feedback and decide on a new use for the now-vacant middle school building. Currently, the building is being used for district professional learning, district athletics – namely, wrestling – and city parks and recreation.

Before concluding the meeting, the board unanimously approved a resolution to continue looking into potential pathways for resolving unemployment concerns, with insistence from Dr. Kari Sholtes that the board come up with a solid policy for school closures if it comes to that.