Adams 12 Five Star School District won’t wait for classes to end at two Westminster elementary schools, breaking ground on big expansions at the Arapahoe Ridge and Cotton Creek schools Dec. 18 and 19.
Both projects are part of the $350 million bond packages voters approved in Nov. 2016, according Kevin Denke, bond communication specialist for the school district.
“We kicked off some new projects right after passing the bond,” Denke said. “We have a lot of projects starting now, with these expansions, and an entire list in the summer of 2018. These are all part of the first phase of work from that bond.”
A ground breaking ceremony for the work at Arapahoe Ridge Elementary, 13095 Pecos St., is set for 10 a.m. Dec. 18.
The ceremony for the work at Cotton Creek Elementary, 11100 Vrain St., is set for 10 a.m. Dec. 19.
Both projects are designed to give the schools some much needed space, allowing the distrct to do away with temporary modular classrooms on site.
“It adds to the cohesiveness of the school community, just having all of the students within one building,” Denke said. “I think it improves the learning process and also safety-wise — it’s better to have everyone under one roof. Modulars are not always ideal, but sometimes there is no choice. It’s what we have to do but when we can bring everyone back together, it’s for the best.”
Both schools rely on modular buildings for their third and fourth grade students, and those will go away.
“There definitely anticipation that there could be more students in the future, but for now we think enrollment will stay pretty stable,” he said. “The current expansion is really about removing those modulars. But it does leave us some room to grow.”
Plans call for adding 18,900 square feet to the 59,000 square foot Arapahoe Ridge building, adding 12 classrooms to the building. It’s been overcrowded since it was first built, and the modular classrooms were included when the building opened in 1998. The school currently has eight mobile classrooms in four modular buildings.
The district also plans to add a new pre-school program at the school when it reopens in 2018.
The Cotton Creek school has used the temporary class rooms for 20 years ago. The school was originally designed with room for 576 students; current enrollment is 604, he said.
Plans call for adding 14,500 square feet of space to the nearly 55,000 square foot building, expanding into the playground area to the north of the building.
“The big piece of that is going to be an eight classroom expansion,” Denke said. “It currently has six mobile classrooms in three modular buildings. This will allow us to get rid of the modulars and bring all those students back in the main building.”
Work building the expansions begins in December, but each of building will get overall improvements during the summer.
“That’s things like mechanical improvements, crawl space repair, replacing carpets — work like that,” he said. “It’ll be exciting for the schools to get the new additions. But both are going to get a fresh new look and that’s exciting as well.”