The Cherry Creek School District has come a long way since the end of the 2017-18 school year.
That's thanks in large part to projects made possible by funds from the 2016 bond and budget election, which have been steadily coming to fruition across the district over the past five months. CCSD Chief Financial Officer/Chief Operating Officer David Hart and Facility Operations Director David Henderson offered a summary of those completed projects, as well as those to come in the near future, during a presentation to the district's Board of Education during its regular meeting held at Infinity Middle School on Oct. 9.
Infinity, a 147,000 square-foot facility equipped with cutting-edge technology resources and innovation spaces, was among the items on the list of projects that have already been completed. The middle school opened at the beginning of the year, and launched along with innovation spaces at more than a dozen buildings across the district, multiple kitchen renovations and mechanical improvements and parking and road improvements to improve access at some of CCSD's busiest facilities.
All of this work comes as part of a continuing effort to deliver on the district's promise of fiscal stewardship to the voters who approved a total of $250 million in construction projects in 2016. The ambitious slate of construction projects are designed in part to properly prepare all CCSD students for the academic and professional demands of the future, a goal sketched out in the district's Cherry Creek 2021 initiative.
For example, the 'innovation spaces' planned for every district elementary and middle school will develop skills like collaboration, inquiry, empathy, problem-solving, curiosity, innovative thinking and passion. These are academic assets identified by community members and education experts alike.
According to Henderson, more than a dozen of these innovations will be completed by the time the 2018-19 school year kicks off in August, with more to follow in the coming year.
In addition to Infinity, the Fremont Building, a new 86,000 square-foot facility in Centennial that houses the district's Transition and Options programs as well as the Office of Professional Development opened at the beginning of the school year. The 70,000-square-foot Altitude Elementary located in Aurora's Southshore neighborhood is slated to open later this month.
Parking improvements at Campus Middle and Cherry Creek High schools were also completed by the beginning of 2018-19 year. The project adjusted parking patterns and improve access through the entire CMS and CCHS campus, making the whole area more passable during critical drop-off and pick-up times.
These high-profile projects will be complemented by a wide range of improvements and additions across CCSD, from security upgrades at Cherry Creek High School to improved kitchens at Eastridge and a number of other schools. Electrical upgrades, track and field improvements and straightforward building renovations will also be completed by the time students report for the first day of class.
Construction will also continue through the year, with large-scale projects like the new Cherry Creek Innovation Campus scheduled to come online in time for the 2019-20 school year. Remaining projects also include a remodel of the central transportation facility, kitchen renovations across the district and other projects.
During the presentation, Hart also spoke to the future of the district's capital program, stressing the importance of working with community partners and continuing to refine the initiative so that it takes care of all of the CCSD community needs.
"We want to continue developing a very comprehensive capital program," Hart said.