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APS breaks ground on new school near Denver airport

APS is planning four new schools within The Aurora Highlands master-planned community.

AURORA, Colo. — Aurora Public Schools (APS) is constructing the first of four new schools in a new community near Denver International Airport (DIA).

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Sept. 8 for the school in the 4,000-acre master-planned The Aurora Highlands.

The school is expected to be complete in time for the 2023-24 school year and will serve about 1,000 students in preschool through 8th grade for those in The Aurora Highlands and along the E-470 corridor.

APS is working to determine the new attendance boundaries for the school. Three other APS schools will be added in The Aurora Highlands community in the coming years.

Josh Cooley, who most recently served as principal of Wheat Ridge High School from 2017-2022, will serve as the new school's principal.

"This is such a unique opportunity for both students and staff," Cooley said. "There’s a special kind of inspiration that comes with learning in a brand-new building with top-of-the-line technology and educators. I look forward to growing this school alongside this new community, The Aurora Highlands, which will become a foundation of success for all residents in northeast Aurora."

Cooley has also been an assistant principal at Rangeview High School and a social studies teacher at Aurora Hills Middle School, Gateway High School and the Vista PEAK campus.

Credit: Aurora Public Schools
P-8 rendering in The Aurora Highlands.

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APS said it will reach out to The Aurora Highlands and surrounding communities to ask for their input regarding a school name, mascot and color scheme.

Hiring for teachers and other school staff will also begin in early 2023. 

"When coming up with plans for The Aurora Highlands, we knew it would be important to not only provide top-quality schools for our residents, but also for Aurora as a whole," Carla Ferreira, director of on-site development and principal at The Aurora Highlands, said. "We want to be a pillar in the greater community. Whether it’s through providing free public art exhibits or exceptional public schools, we are focused on making northeast Aurora a wonderful place to live and grow a family."

APS said construction of the new school is funded through its bond program, a $300 million measure that voters approved in November 2016. 

RELATED: Aurora Public Schools to build new P-8 school in west Aurora

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