Breaking Ground

From left, Lake County School District Superintendent Wendy Wyman, Director of Early Childhood Programs and Head Start Director Holly DeBel and West Park Elementary School Principal Kathleen Fitzsimmons break ground on the district’s new school.

On May 4, excavation began at the West Park Elementary School site for a new preschool through grade two (PK-2) school that is expected to be ready for students in August 2021.

In November 2019, Lake County voters approved a bond measure that allowed the Lake County School District (LCSD) to receive a $20.8 million Building Excellent Schools Today grant. With this funding, LCSD will build a new school to serve students currently attending West Park and Pitts, which the Colorado Department of Education has ranked among the poorest condition schools 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. “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.”

LCSD Superintendent Wendy Wyman, Director of Early Childhood Programs and Head Start Director Holly DeBell, and West Park Elementary School Principal Kathleen Fitzsimmons marked the groundbreaking of the new PK–2 school with their ceremonial shovels. The groundbreaking was the culmination of 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.

According to the school district, all construction companies and contractors working on the new PK–2 site are committed to adhering to the state’s COVID-19 guidelines to protect their crew members and our community.

“These are challenging times for everyone,” said 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.”

The new PK–2 building will include spaces that support student collaboration and enhance LCSD’s expeditionary learning spirit. The faiclity will also include a large gym for student and community use.

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

“We look forward to future opportunities to celebrate together as we reach important milestones in erecting a new building that will serve our community for generations to come,” said Fitzsimmons.

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