Plans for transforming Englewood Middle School into the new campus for Colorado’s Finest Alternative High School were outlined at a Dec. 4 meeting for middle school neighbors.
The project is part of the major school district project that includes creating a seventh- through 12th grade campus on the Englewood High School site. When that project is completed in 2014, Englewood Middle School students will move into the new campus and Colorado’s Finest Alternative High School will relocate to the remodeled middle school building at 300 W. Chenango Ave.
Creating the new campus will use $40 million from in voter-approved bonds. The middle school project will use $8 million in bond money as matching funds for a state Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) grant.
Brian Hart is managing the project for Haselden Construction, the company the district selected to build the project.
“This will be a three-phase project that will take about 11 months,” Hart told the meeting audience of about 40 people.
“Phase one will take about five months and will begin in late December or early January. That is when we will mobilize our equipment to begin remodeling the south half of the building while the students attend classes in the north half of the building.”
He said all workers will undergo background checks and will be required to wear stickers on their hard hats, identifying who they are and that they have undergone the required background check.
Crews will erect wooden partitions between the construction site and the student area. That is to make sure construction workers can’t go into the student area and students can’t go into the construction area.
“We will begin Phase two in June 2013,” Hart said. “Student will be moved to the south half of the building and we will fence the northern half of the school to begin work inside and outside the building.”
Outside work includes installation of new windows, creating a new parking lot at the north end of the site plus crews will be moving the building entrance from Chenango to the west side of the building adjacent to the present parking lot.
Hart said about 90 percent of the work will be done inside the building and work hours will be from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. so there should be very little noise to disturb neighbors.
A resident asked about the route and amount of construction-related traffic.
Hart said there will be no heavy construction equipment involved in this project. He said most construction-related traffic will be relatively small trucks delivering supplies and equipment. The general route is to come in off Broadway to the delivery area adjacent to the school.
Another resident asked about recycling and environmental construction.
“We are seeking to meet the LEED silver certification confirming that the project is environmentally friendly,” Hart said. “ One of the certification requirements is that 50 percent of construction debris be recycled. Most of our project recycles about 75 percent.”
Colorado’s Finest Alternative High School opened in 1980 and was one of the first alternative high schools in the state. It has always been located in the former Scenic View Elementary School building at 2323 W. Baker Ave. The building is too small and temporary classrooms have been added. Inside the former elementary school, there are no classroom walls, a very small gymnasium and no facilities to offer school lunches.
The new location will mean, for the first time, the alternative high school will have a full-size gymnasium and locker rooms. Also, for the first time, there will be facilities to offer school lunches.
When the project is completed, there be a number of additions to the alternative high school programs. Those additions will include the district’s new cosmetology program, a video editing and production program and a science, technology, engineering and math laboratory.
Bobbie Skaggs-Renaud, CFAHS principal, said the new campus will follow the traditional calendar and classes will be in session from 7:55 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.
She said there are about 350 students at the alternative high school this year and she expects about the same number of students will be enrolled when the new facility opens. That number is expected grow to near the school’s capacity of 570 students.