When students return to Adams District 12’s STEM Lab School next week, they’ll get to spread out a little now that building reconstruction is finished.
They’ll also find a school that’s been turned an engineering laboratory.
“It’s a great way to teach the students,” Principal Tracy Tellinger. “You have structural supports in all buildings and systems and usually they are hidden in the walls. But here, they’re all exposed.”
All of the science-centered school’s systems are front and center — from the plumbing to the electrical to computer network systems. Even the walls behind the drinking fountains are transparent so the students can see how the pipes delivering their drinking water are arranged.
“It’s what they’re all studying, so we wanted to incorporate it,” she said.
The work brings two year’s worth of construction to a close at the kindergarten through eight grade school, with two new maker labs — one for the middle schoolers and a second for the younger students, as well as a Lego lab — a new library and a refurbished gymnasium.
The gym includes entirely new retractable bleachers that work, replacing the old wooden ones that had been part of the school since the very beginning. But rather than wasting the planks of wood from those old bleachers, they’ve been incorporated back into the work as a paneling around the building.
“We have other areas where we’ve re-purposed all that wood,” she said. “We have several areas, like around the middle school maker space, that uses it. Then we have benches more the middle schoolers to sit on and some other things.”
It’s a nice nod to the school’s history.
“One thing I love, at this school, is that we have kids coming now to the school that their grandparents went to school here,” she said. “You have the generational differences. They remember when they played basketball here or sat on these bleachers.”
The students have been involved in the work, posting reports on the construction processes to hallway bulletin boards. Another class used the school’s drones to take photos of the work’s progress as it moved along.
“They came up with some designs to protect some of the duct work and other things on the roof that would be susceptible to hail damage,” she said. “The came up with ways screen things, different insulation things they could use or window shades to protect windows. They may not have been implemented but they designed them.”
The STEM Lab opened on the grounds of Northglenn’s old Northeast Junior High, which had been rented out to private and charter schools before the STEM Lab opened in 2010.
Initially a two-story, 125,000 square-foot building, Tellinger said the district began working with neighbors and parents when planning for the renovation.
“We had meetings with neighbors and showed them, `Here’s what a one story building looks like, and here’s what a two story looks like,’” she said. “This is what they wanted, so it’s a real part of the community.”
Twice the tech
It was part of the $350 million package voters approved at the polls in 2016.
Renovations began in 2017 with the construction of a 25,000 square foot wing. That wrapped up in 2018, and students and staff moving into the new section last year while crews demolished much of the old building, replacing it with new 25,000 square foot area.
The first section becomes the elementary area, while the newest area is for the middle schoolers.
The final result is a single-story building of about 100,000 square feet.
“It’s smaller than it was, but it makes so much more efficient use of the space,” Kevin Denke, district bond communications specialist
It’s also made room for 200 more students.
“Last year, we had room for 470,” she said. “But this addition allowed us to add a third more classrooms. We had two classrooms at every grade level but now each grade has gotten another classroom. And that’s room for another 200 students.”
The district is planning an official ribbon cutting ceremony at the school in Sept 19.