ARVADA - Turning a construction zone into a school zone is the job of Tim Reed, the executive director of facilities and construction management for the Jefferson County School District.
"This is actually the first brand new school that we've built in 10 years," Reed says.
He is standing inside the Three Creeks K-8 School built in northwest Arvada - an area that's growing quickly due to development in the Candelas neighborhood.
"If you look at the amount of potential development here, we're talking about up to 5,000 single families homes," Reed says.
Statistics show that also equals about 5,000 new kids for the district to find classrooms for in an already overcrowded area, he says.
JeffCo Chief Communications Officer Diana Wilson says that is an ongoing challenge for district leaders.
"There is a big need and it's kinda tough for us cause we have part of our district where the number of kids is dropping and then we have this part of the district where the number of kids is going up so phenomenally fast," Wilson says.
A few miles away, construction crews are working on a new building for Sierra Elementary School. The classroom capacity there will increase by 250 seats.
Both projects together cost the district more than $40 million. JeffCo had to borrow that money through Certificates of Participation which is essentially taking out a loan from the bank. Voters did not approve the bond issue that would've paid for these buildings from increased property taxes.
Wilson says the district had to finance these buildings this way.
"The need out here," Wilson says. "We've had a need for quite a number of years and we really couldn't put it off any longer."
Even now, with the combined 1050 additional classroom seats added to northwest Arvada within these two new buildings, Reed says it's still not enough.
"We're behind, yes," Reed says. "And, where we go from here is a decision that the board will certainly have to grapple with."
The two new buildings are scheduled to open for the fall semester in about six weeks. Reed says they are both in good shape to open on time.
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