Construction crews have been hard at work this summer across the Cherry Creek School District's 108 square miles.
Projects made possible by funds from the 2016 bond and budget election are coming to fruition across the district, and the net result will be academic excellence for students, teachers, staff and the entire CCSD community. The list of projects that will come online in the coming months includes a brand-new elementary and middle school, innovation spaces at more than a dozen buildings, multiple kitchen renovations and mechanical improvements and parking and road improvements to improve access at some of the district'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 CCSD Facility Operations Director David 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.
"The first round of 15 will be done in time for school to start, and the remainder of the school innovation spaces will be completed next summer," Henderson said.
The 147,000 square-foot Infinity Middle School located on more than 20 acres at 25100 E Belleview Ave. will open its doors to students in August, while the 70,000-square-foot Altitude Elementary located in Aurora's Southshore neighborhood is slated to open in October. The Fremont Building, a new 86,000 square-foot facility in Centennial that will house the district's Transition and Options programs as well as the Office of Professional Development will open in time for the beginning of the school year.
Parking improvements at Campus Middle and Cherry Creek High schools will also be completed by the beginning of 2018-19 year in August, and are set to have a noticeable impact on traffic patterns around the campus. The project will adjust 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.
"The idea behind the design is to allow cars to traverse the entire campus without having to come back on Union or Dayton," Henderson said. "This will improve traffic and parking around the site, to include ADA parking."
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.