PSD purchase of Wellington land finalized, marking milestone in future school construction

PSD Board of Education members and Superintendent Sandra Smyser stand on the property for the new Wellington school.
PSD Board of Education members and Superintendent Sandra Smyser stand on the new Wellington school property.

 

Poudre School District on Jan. 25 closed on its purchase of an approximately 127-acre property in Wellington, marking an exciting milestone on the road to constructing a new middle/high school in the northeastern part of the district. PSD’s purchase price was $5 million.

The Wellington property, 8543 N. County Road 9, is west of Interstate-25 and north of County Road 62E, about 1.5 miles west of current Wellington Middle School located at 4001 Wilson Avenue in Wellington. The new school is projected to open in fall 2022. Students from current Wellington Middle School would be moved to the new school, eventually serving students in grades six through 12.

“We are excited to move forward with construction, which is all made possible thanks to voter support. This is an opportunity to shape the education of our community’s kids for decades to come,” Superintendent Sandra Smyser said.

In November 2016, voters approved a $375 million bond and $8 million mill levy override. With those funds PSD will, in addition to building the middle/high school in Wellington, also complete $40 million in improvements to PSD’s existing 50 schools; build a second new middle/high school at the Prospect Site, located east of I-25 on Prospect Road; add an addition at Zach Elementary School; and construct a new southeast elementary school, a transportation maintenance facility, and athletics complex at the Prospect site.

PSD is working with RB+B Architects Inc. to complete the designs of both middle/high schools. Some guiding design principles are that: occupants not only are safe but feel safe in a building that balances openness and security; environments should adapt, physical spaces should support everything teachers want to do, and students should be able to learn across subjects and spaces; and environmental stewardship is ubiquitous.

Both middle/high schools are being designed for about 1,800 students. PSD anticipates opening the new Wellington-area middle/high school to students in grades 6 through 10. Eleventh and 12th grades will be added in the following years.

Several court cases delayed bond-funded construction and school improvements by two years, but the litigation was resolved in PSD's favor in fall 2018. The status of the other projects include:

•    Middle/high school at the Prospect Site, located east of I-25 on Prospect Road: Like the middle/high at the Wellington site, this school is projected to open in fall 2022 and would eventually serve students in grades six through 12.

•    $40 million in ongoing school facility improvements: School updates range from the purchase of new furniture, to the installation of carpet and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. These are expected to begin in 2019 and continue over the course of about three to four years.

•    New Southeast Elementary School, east of I-25 off County Road 5 and County Road 30: projected to open in fall 2021. The PSD Board of Education at its Jan. 22 meeting approved staff to award Hord Coplan Macht the contract for architectural design services. Design work is expected to begin in early 2019 and continue into 2020.

•    Zach Elementary addition: PSD contracted RB+B Architects for design services; construction is expected to begin in spring 2019; and the new addition replaces modular classrooms, to be removed in phases.

•    Athletics Complex at the Prospect site: Would be part of the new middle/high school campus, with an anticipated opening in fall 2021. The complex is expected to include a multi-use field, stadium seating, locker rooms, and more.

•    Transportation Maintenance Facility, North Terminal: The current North Terminal is at the Johannsen Support Services complex, 2407 Laporte Ave. The new facility will replace the existing offices, maintenance shops and bus parking area. The projected opening is fall 2022 (may be accelerated as needed/if possible).

•    Futures Lab Concept: Establishment of a collaborative space that offers learning opportunities to all students (grades 9-12) to grow their technical, entrepreneurial and “soft” skills. While the final name is yet to be determined, the Futures Lab Concept complements and enhances PSD’s long-standing college and career-readiness programs. Programming is expected to begin in 2019 with multiple classes in a temporary location. PSD will seek multiple sources of funding for this program. All projects included in the 2016 bond program, including the $40 million in ongoing school improvements, will be fully funded.