In the News...
Alamosa unveils new elementary schools
State school construction funds paid the bill.
By Matt Hildner
August 27, 2011
ALAMOSA — Educators here snipped the ribbon Friday on a $39 million campus that will serve roughly 1,100 elementary school students.
All 1,100 were on hand for the morning ceremony, giggling, wiggling and squirming their way through roughly 45 minutes of speeches from state, school district and city officials.
The campus, which includes two 72,000-square-foot buildings, is the fourth project in the San Luis Valley to be completed from the Building Excellent Schools Today program, which draws money from the State Lands Trust to match with local revenue.
Alamosa voters approved a $12 million bond issue in 2008, while the state picked up the remainder of the building costs.
New school buildings from the program, which is designed to replace old or dilapidated buildings, also have gone up in Mosca, San Luis and Sargent.
Others have been approved or are under construction in Center, Crestone and Monte Vista.
State Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village, sponsored the legislation that created the program. Friday, she and state Rep. Ed Vigil, D-Fort Garland, told the students to take care of the buildings so their siblings, children and grandchildren also could enjoy them.
"Take good care as if this were your most special bike," she said.
Lori Smith, principal of the building for kindergarten through second grade, said the students were in awe of their new digs when they opened the school this week, adding that one student said the building was like a college.
The move closed the three existing grade schools and brought Smith from Polston Elementary, which sits on Colorado 17 on the east side of town.
She said the new buildings represent an enormous upgrade in technology, noting she watched one class of students earlier in the week dive into work with an interactive writing board.
Neenan Archistruction designed and built the two buildings, which are separated by a playground.
Architect David Kurtz pointed to highlights that included a color scheme of soft browns and yellows to match the landscape on the southwestern edge of town.
He said the building also include a solar-powered water system and concrete interior walls that will help keep the structures cool.
District officials credited interior designer Ann Marie Jackson for the kid-friendly touches throughout the building that include a Dr. Seuss-inspired shape for the gymnasium and a mouse hole that students can crawl through to get into the library of the K-2 building.