Editor's note: This article has been updated to correct the name of the school's general contractor, JHL Constructors.
Despite weather and COVID-19 related delays, construction on the new $27 million Monument Academy Secondary School is on schedule to open next month. And it’s still on budget.
In fact, Monument Academy’s move-in date for the building, located at the southeast corner of Colorado 83 and Walker Road, east of Monument, has been moved up a day. Move-in is now expected to start Aug. 13, by which time the first phase of construction is expected to be complete, Monument Academy Chief Operating Officer Christianna Herrera said last week.
“Honestly, it doesn’t make sense on paper, but it was able to happen,” Herrera said. “Every project brings its own challenges, for sure. We have been very blessed through the process of this one.”
Herrera and principal Julie Seymour on June 25 toured the site for the charter school’s expansion. The school, part of Lewis-Palmer School District 38, was founded in 1996 as Lewis-Palmer Charter Academy and renamed Monument Academy in 2000.
Because of pandemic precautions and constantly evolving related restrictions, general contractor JHL Constructors reduced its labor force by 50%, continuing operations in split shifts and night shifts to maintain social distancing and protect workers.
“JHL has been amazing to get the project done and keep everybody safe,” Herrera said.
The 21-acre campus includes a network of roadways expected to keep school traffic from backing up onto nearby streets. “We will definitely be able to handle dropoff and pickup on site,” Herrera said.
The Academy’s middle school students will relocate from the existing campus at 1150 Village Ridge Point to the new 55,000-square-foot building, which will have two wings.
One wing will house sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders, and the other will have a gymnasium and classrooms for high school students. This year will be the first time Monument Academy will offer high school grades. School leaders anticipate 600 students on campus with all four grades, with room to grow to 1,000 students.
Monument Academy will begin rolling out its secondary grades this year. While ninth-grade students will be a part of the coming school year at the new building, it is still being decided if 10th grade will be included in the building’s first year as well. A complete student body is expected to be in the building within about two years. However, with future pandemic restrictions unknown, completion of the second phase of construction could take three years, Herrera said.
School administrators are keeping an eye on what pandemic-related restrictions will be in place for schools come August. Anticipating the need to maintain a sanitized environment, the building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning system has been outfitted with ultraviolet light disinfection to help eliminate bacteria and viruses.
Herrera said Monument Academy has been able to update the building design with many features requested by students, despite additional costs of labor adjustments and delays.
Principal Seymour said she was pleased to walk through the new building last week and to see the progress that’s been made.
“Being on the ground level of the project from the get-go, between the planning process, getting the kids’ input and the families’, it’s been very exciting,” Seymour said.
When the new campus opens, the existing Monument Academy campus will become solely an elementary school.
The school enrolled 966 preschool through eighth-grade students in the 2019-2020 academic year, according to Gazette reports.