Construction Begins on New Colorado Primary School

By Lisa Kopochinski

LAKE COUNTY, Colo.—Construction has begun on a new PreK-2 primary school in Leadville, Colo., for the Lake County School District. Excavation began in early May at the West Park Elementary School site for a facility that is scheduled to be ready for students in August 2021.

Last November, Lake County voters approved a bond proposal that cleared the way for the district to receive a $20.8 million Building Excellent Schools Today grant. The new $34.7 million school will serve students that attend West Park and Pitts elementary school, which the Colorado Department of Education has ranked among the facilities with the poorest conditions in the state.

“This new PK–2 school is such an important project for the future of our community,” said West Park Elementary School Principal Kathleen Fitzsimmons in a statement.

“Due to the pandemic, we held an informal groundbreaking ceremony aligned with social-distancing protocols. However, we will involve the whole community in celebrations at a later date.”

The groundbreaking involved months of work by the district’s Design Advisory Group, comprising staff and community members. The group provided input and guidance to Dynamic Program Management, the district’s owner’s representative, and to Hord Coplan Macht, the project’s architectural firm. FCI Contractors is the general contractor.

The new PK–2 building will include spaces that support student collaboration as well as a large gym for student and community use. The facility will also include a large gym for student and community use.

“These are challenging times for everyone,” said Lake County School District Superintendent Wendy Wyman. “In many ways, the new PK-2 school is a beacon of hope for students, teachers and families in our community. It’s a reminder that, in the future, there will be a return to normalcy. We can’t wait for students to fill our buildings again. It is exciting that, in the not-too-distant future, our youngest students will have access to a new building designed to enhance their learning and promote their wellbeing.”

Demolition of the old West Park school is slated for the fall 2021 after students have started in the new school building. Paving and final landscaping will take place in the summer of 2022.