Updated: January 20, 2013 at 12:00 am
A regional organization that provides educational services has signed the papers on a new home.
Once a middle school, the building at 2883 S. Circle Dr. will enable the Pikes Peak Board of Cooperative Educational Services, or BOCES, to consolidate services and better serve students, said BOCES spokeswoman Rachel Beck.
BOCES serves 135,000 students in 21 Pikes Peak and Pueblo area school districts.
An $11.5 million BEST Grant will cover the purchase, remodeling and furnishing of the Gorman Educational Center. The Colorado Department of Education administers a capital construction grant program known as BEST for Building Excellent Schools Today.
School districts and other education entities compete annually for awards that can cover capital construction needs.
“We help schools better serve their students, especially students with special needs, who present unique learning and behavioral challenges that cannot easily be addressed in the general education setting,” said Jerry Stremel, BOCES executive director.
BOCES services include professional development, student and family therapy, and the Pikes Peak School of Excellence, an alternative education and intervention programs for students in kindergarten through 12th grade who struggle with their behavior. An autism program is slated to begin in the fall.
BOCES’ largest program allows small districts and rural school access to special education teachers, school psychologists, speech therapists, physical therapists, audiologists, interpreters, transition specialists, nurses, paraprofessionals and other specialists who provide special education services to students with disabilities.
The building cost $7.5 million, Beck said. About $3 million is budgeted for remodeling the Gorman Education Center. When the remodeling is finished in August, there will be a cafeteria and spaces for a computer, media center and music program.
“It’s mostly an expansion of services to those students they already serve,” Beck said. “They’ll be able to offer more options. There’s a lot of demand.”
BOCES had been in offices and a separate school building on Wooten Road. Some staff members worked out of closets, Beck said.
The Gorman Education Center most recently housed a variety of programs and offices for Harrison School District 2 and community partners, said D-2 spokeswoman Christine Lyle. The building had been a middle school until 2005, she said. The district opened Fox Meadow Middle School that same year to meet needs in the southern portion of the district.
“It was a great deal for BOCES,” Lyle said. “They needed to centralize and needed more space.”
One program is in the process of moving out of Gorman, she said. Others have been settled into new facilities, she said.
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