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9-R Partners with the La Plata County Economic Development Alliance and the Small Business Development Center to Launch Bond-to-Business Initiative Partnership to support engagement and  participation from local vendors in the bond work

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 Last November, the community supported the 4A Bond initiative, infusing the Durango School District 9-R (9-R) with more than $90M in funding for capital projects and improvements. Part of the promise to the community included engagement and support of local businesses and vendors in the bond projects. As an effort to uphold that promise, 9-R has partnered with the La Plata County Economic Development Alliance (LPCEDA) and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to launch a local engagement and support program, called 9-R Bond to Business.

“This partnership allows us to bring every opportunity to be involved in our bond projects to our local construction-related contractors and businesses,” says Chief Financial Officer Samantha Gallagher. “We want to ensure that regardless of the size of the contractor or the niche area of expertise that everyone has access to and understanding of the bid process and has every opportunity to be selected for a project. We are grateful for the depth of knowledge and relationships both of these great organizations bring to the table to make local support a reality and we look forward to a successful partnership with local businesses and contractors throughout the bond.”

The La Plata County Economic Development Alliance’s mission is to create a vibrant and resilient economy from the recruitment, retainment, and growth of businesses, by fostering public and private partnerships and preserving the quality of life.

“As we navigate through this new landscape post-Covid we realize, more than ever, the importance of public-private partnership,” says LPCEDA Program Manager Emily Meisner.  “We are proud to participate with Durango 9-R, SBDC, and our banking partners to provide opportunity and access to the bond for our construction-related businesses here locally. $63 million will be spent on services through the next four years with this bond, and our goal is to keep as much of that money in La Plata County as we possibly can with creative strategy and collaboration.”  

The Southwest Colorado Small Business Development Center offers business consulting and training that maximizes the economic potential of entrepreneurs within the region. SBDC’s mission is to help existing and new businesses grow and prosper. Through free guidance and counseling and low-cost training, SBDC works to minimize risk and maximize capacity by helping clients write comprehensive business plans, conduct financial forecasts, strategize marketing tactics, apply for funding, bid for contracts, and improve operations.

“We are excited to be working with the Alliance, 9-R, and the team at Jacobs to increase local business participation in the 9-R bond construction projects,” says SBCD Executive Director, Mary Shepard. “The Colorado SBDC Network is the go-to resource for technical assistance for small businesses, so it made perfect sense to leverage our program and partnerships to create no-cost trainings and consulting to assist small businesses in accessing these contracts and subcontracts. In fact, we view this as an excellent opportunity for local businesses to cut their teeth in government contracting.”

It is anticipated that work on the resulting bond program will take place over the ensuing four years and the impact will be considerably longer lasting. A broad range of significant construction and construction-related goods and services will be needed to support the program over this period. 9-R, LPCEDA, SBDC, and Jacobs (9-R’s Bond Management Company) have agreed to work together to bring every opportunity to local construction-related contractors to participate in the projects. 

Classes, webinars, and other details about how to bid for projects are available on the new 9-R-branded Bond Website. If you are a contractor and would like additional information on this project, please complete this FORM.

About Durango School District 9-R

The mission of Durango School District 9-R, an innovative educational system committed to excellence, is to ensure each student develops the skills and attributes for lifelong learning. Through leading instructional models, globally minded learning programs and engaging teaching and learning methods, the district aims to instill in each student the ability to compete and contribute in the global community.  Furthermore, the district encourages supportive and safe school environments, guaranteeing equitable educational opportunities for each and every student.  For more information, visit us online at, like us on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter @Durango9R.


Durango School District 9-R Bond Program Mission Statement

Durango united to invest in our future by supporting Bond Issue 4A, aligning our schools with the community’s vision for innovative, equitable, sustainable, educational outcomes while also ensuring health and safety of students, staff and other users of these vital community resources.


La Plata County Economic Development Alliance Mission Statement

To create a vibrant and resilient economy from the recruitment, retainment, and growth of business, by fostering public and private partnerships, and preserving our quality of life.


The Southwest Colorado Small Business Development Center Mission Statement

To help existing and new businesses grow and prosper.


Media Contacts:

Julie Popp – PIO

Durango School District 9-R

(970) 247-5411


Emily Meisner – Program Manager

La Plata County Economic Development Alliance

(970) 259-1700


Mary Shepard – Executive Director

Small Business Development Center

(970) 903-5424