An “aggressive” construction schedule will add a middle school to Sand Creek International Elementary School by the fall semester, the first of many renovation projects in Harrison School District 2 since voters approved a $180 million bond issue in November.
“It’s something visible for residents in southeast Colorado Springs to see the investments in their schools,” said D-2 spokeswoman Christine Lyle.
“Knowing that students have options in our school district, like they might find in neighboring districts, is a great thing.”
A groundbreaking will be held at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday with representatives from Bryan Construction, CSNA Architects, a bond oversight committee, the board of education and this year’s 72 fifth-graders, who will be the first to use the new wing as sixth-graders next school year.
The $10 million addition will create D-2’s second K-8 campus. The model has worked well at Mountain Vista Community School, Lyle said.
Soaring Eagles Elementary School also will get a middle school wing eventually, and due to shifting soil, Carmel Middle School will be rebuilt. The latter project will start in May 2020, and students and staff will be moved to other middle schools while the new school is built.
Every D-2 school will see improvements over the next six years as a result of the bond measure, Lyle said.
The work, from new carpeting, roofs and HVAC to upgraded technology and security, is estimated to cost residents $8 per $100,000 of home value a month.
The first $100 million in bonds were sold Jan. 29 and netted $115.7 million. Lyle said the district’s “outstanding credit” led to the bonds selling well.
Harrison’s Aa3 Moody’s rating last month is considered “very strong.” Another round of bonds will be sold in a few years.
Sand Creek was selected as the first project because it’s authorized to provide an International Baccalaureate curriculum, which promotes personal development and high academic growth amid global education.
“It’s really important students don’t have a gap in IB education, so this allows for a better transition for students to continue IB in the sixth, seventh and eighth grade,” Lyle said.
Harrison High School also has the IB format available as students progress.
The sixth-grade classrooms will be ready by fall at Sand Creek, with seventh grade added in 2020 and eighth grade in 2021.
The new annex will match the existing school and feature plenty of natural light, science labs and a separate lunch room, Lyle said.
Students from Sand Creek International Elementary matriculate to Panorama or Carmel middle schools, but with the expanded campus, they can stay at Sand Creek.
“Families appreciate when they have children in elementary and middle school having one campus,” Lyle said.
“And as students move into middle school, they like having a familiar environment and staff.”
Other D-2 schools to get projects this year are Otero and Centennial elementary schools, Mountain Vista Community School and Fox Meadows Middle School.
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