- Vista Ridge High School
On Hold and On Schedule
We are excited to begin school year 2023-2024! As we welcome our workforce and students back for the start of a new school year, we continue to make progress on a list of important projects that will expand our capacity to deliver top-notch education to every D49 learner.
Bennett Ranch Elementary School
In July, the Falcon Zone hosted a ribbon cutting for the new Falcon Middle School Annex at Bennett Ranch Elementary School. The new wing provides nearly 54,000 square feet of learning space for sixth grade students, relieving pressure at nearby Falcon Middle School. The addition also holds the administrative offices for the Falcon Zone. BRES opened in 2018, with the knowledge that the building would expand in the future. This current addition also has room for an increase in students.
“We are ensuring that our Bennett Ranch staff feel comfortable and welcome, but also that the sixth-grade staff from Falcon Middle do as well,” said Martina Meadows, BRES Principal.
The campus expansion was funded by the 2016 voter-approved 3B Mill Levy Override, which created a financial model to support the construction of new schools in D49 for years to come.
Vista Ridge High School
Vista Ridge High School is also in the early stages of a campus expansion. A perimeter of temporary fencing stands between a portion of the east parking lot and what will soon become an additional VRHS academic wing.
The addition will add 32,000 square feet of much-needed space, which will relieve capacity concerns and include classrooms for career and technical education. Located on the south side of campus, the expansion will boost capacity by approximately 450 students, offering 18 classrooms.
Within the fenced-off area, students, families, visitors and the VRHS workforce will notice a modular building which will be used by our partners at Nunn Construction to manage day-to-day operations. Crews will break ground in the fall semester, and will remain on campus until the scheduled completion date in the fall semester of 2024.
Work is underway on the Board of Education approved transportation center next to the Falcon Legacy Campus. Members of the D49 Transportation Department gathered together on Thursday, June 29, to sign an iron beam that is being installed in the new transportation building.
Horizon Middle School
Projects beginning this fall at Horizon Middle School include adding a building which will serve two purposes: First, hosting Horizon programs displaced by the removal of existing modular buildings and, ultimately, an Early Childhood Education (ECE) facility. Initially envisioned as a refresh and refurbish strategy, a facility master plan inspection revealed the existing Horizon modulars are nearing their end-of-use condition. Rather than invest in refurbishing the modulars, a rapid shift in planning allowed D49 to commission a larger steel building to accommodate programs and chart a course for a transition to an ECE facility.
Elevation Middle School
The work on these projects is possible because of an extended hold on Elevation Middle School, a new campus in the Sand Creek Zone near the intersection of Marksheffel and Barnes on the east side of Colorado Springs. Although EMS was first projected to open the fall semester of 2024, the Army Corps of Engineers has not released the land to developers who must address drainage issues that impact a planned subdivision and EMS campus site.
This unexpected delay created new opportunities to prioritize projects that will address immediate needs within D49. The district’s voter-approved funding strategy allows companies/businesses to invest in certificates of participation (COP) for large-scale building projects. Because there are parameters and timelines on how we spend those dollars, we could shift gears to address the above projects.
An updated timeline has not been provided, but D49 still plans to open EMS as middle school space will be needed in the near future. EMS will likely be funded by a new COP or other timely financial strategy.