Back to school: Saftey and Learning
Drive by any school in Pueblo West and you’ll see people hard at work on a variety of construction projects that will improve safety and learning for area students.
Crews have been working feverishly to get as much done with some projects as possible before students return to the classroom next week.
All the construction is from the bond issue, passed by voters last November, to upgrade safety, build new classrooms where needed, improve ADA accessibility and more.
Crews started in June on some of the projects, and will be working for the next year or more on some of the larger items like classroom additions.
All of the schools are getting upgrades to entrance security.
While some schools – like Cedar Ridge Elementary and Prairie Winds Elementary – already had secured locked entranceways, other schools such as Liberty Point Elementary needed complete reconfigurations and construction to make locked, safe entrances.
All the schools are getting a special glass that is resistant to damage, which in the event of an emergency would give staff plenty of time to call for authorities before the glass was broken.
At Liberty Point Elementary School, crews are working to finish the new vestibule with secured entrance.
They also remodeled restrooms, removing some asbestos, and made them ADA accessible.
The school has several modular buildings that were relocated to the opposite end of the school to make room for the site work that has begun for the school’s planned 10-classroom addition.
Next door, at Liberty Point International, the entrance is also being remodeled to be secure, and restroom revisions were made.
The school is getting six additional classrooms, so excavation work has already started.
Ryan Elarton, Director of Business Services for Pueblo School District 70, said if all goes according to plan, the classroom additions at LPE and LPI, as well as most of the others, could be done as early as the winter semester break.
“We’d love to be able to move into these classrooms during the semester break,” he said.
Skyview Middle School is receiving four more classrooms, and excavation work has begun there as well.
Additionally, the school is getting much-needed air conditioning in the gymnasium.
Cedar Ridge Elementary is one of the district’s newest schools, so it is getting slight revisions to the secure entrance, and crews are widening the drop-off loop that becomes very congested before and after school.
The school will get a new athletic field, but construction for that has not yet started.
Over at Desert Sage Elementary, the playground was located in “not a great spot” near the road, so it’s being moved and will be ADA accessible as well.
Sierra Vista Elementary is also getting some ADA accessible changes to its playground, which previously had a few steps leading to the area.
The school will get a seven-classroom addition and a revision of the front office area for secure entrance.
Also at Sierra Vista, the school was originally built with an “open” concept, meaning none of the classrooms had doors that could be closed. Doors are being added (both for noise and safety) and the fire alarm system is being upgraded in order to properly accommodate the school once the doors are in use.
On the north side of Pueblo West, Prairie Winds Elementary School will get new classrooms where the playground was located, so it is being moved and reconfigured.
Pueblo West High School is the local school with the most work to be done. Crews started there outdoors before students were out of school in the spring, working on improvements to sports fields.
The first construction to happen, Elarton said, will be the 10-classroom addition at the west end of the school.
Because it will be a two-story construction like the rest of the school, those classrooms will take longer than a semester to complete.