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D49 Celebrates New School with Official Groundbreaking

A small team of School District 49 leaders put their shoveling skills to work on a breezy Tuesday afternoon, May 15. As one, the group of diggers scooped some softened earth, marking the official groundbreaking for a new elementary school in the Banning Lewis Ranch neighborhood.


About 70 people braved the breezy conditions to learn more about the new school. Principal Kristina Rigdon spoke about the vision set for the neighborhood elementary school which will have an emphasis in the arts.


“Through the process of creating, students learn critical skills that will carry them on any path they take,” Rigdon said. “Self direction, self management, problem solving, perseverance, inquiry, analysis, communication, collaboration, creativity and innovation. These are just a few foundational skills needed for career and life success. These are also skills that are developed through the arts.”


The still unnamed school is the result of the 3B ballot measure overwhelmingly approved by voters in November of 2016, which brings in revenues for a list of priorities for the district, including two new schools. Initial phases of construction began in April.  D49 BOE President Marie Lavere-Wright speaks during school groundbreaking


A list of guest speakers for the groundbreaking event included D49 Board of Education President Marie LaVere-Wright, who introduced two community members from the Power Zone, Julia VanWagenen, a parent, and Vista Ridge High School student Sierra Tune. 


“The arts are where people discover themselves and how truly irreplaceable they are in this world, and how no one else can bring to the table exactly what they can,” said Tune. The VRHS senior spoke about her appreciation for the arts and enthusiasm for the new school that will soon take shape.


“This school means there is now a place where these feelings of love, diversity and confidence are not only accepted, but encouraged,” Tune said.


As the 2017 - 2018 school year comes to a close, Colorado-based Nunn Construction will continue work at the site on Vista Del Pico Boulevard, not far from Banning Lewis Preparatory Academy, a D49 authorized charter school. A planning committee is developing a list of potential names for the school, listening to feedback from the community and seeking more input as the project moves forward. Doors are scheduled to open in August of 2019.

Community members listen to speakers during D49 school groundbreaking A group of diggers breaks ground at site of new D49 school

David Nancarrow