DENVER — Earth-moving equipment stands in the fenced area adjacent to the Cyclone Center amidst large mounds of dirt and piles of gravel.
Site preparation began a couple weeks ago on Denver Community Schools’ new secondary building at 800 Longview St.
On Wednesday, the start of construction on the $16.44 million 75,500-square-foot two-story middle and high school was celebrated with a ceremonial groundbreaking. Board of Education members dug into the sod just outside of the fenced area. Afterwards, children in the crowd that attended the event played on pile of dirt deposited nearby.
Superintendent Brad Laures referenced the Cyclone Center, a nearly 4-year-old arts and athletics facility, in his comments about the district’s latest construction project.
“Exactly one month shy of five years ago,” he said, on May 14, 2016, Denver Schools broke ground on that project.
“Look at this beautiful building and what it has meant for this district,” said Laures. “Soon we will have another beautiful building to go with it.”
Scott Krebsbach, board president, noted, “Building a new school is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many of us.” When completed, he said, the secondary school will be a point of pride for the community. It is expected to open in the fall of 2022.
After the groundbreaking, Krebsbach marveled at the progress the district is making with its facilities.
“I never dreamed that I’d be standing here twice with a shovel in five years,” he said.
Laures said the piles of gravel on the site are being used for geopiers that involve drilling down into the ground and then packing in the rock to create a stable foundation for the building. Construction will begin when that work is completed in the coming days.
Officials are hoping the community steps up to close the gap on a portion of the construction budget. Part of the expense for a wrestling room and equipment that was kept in the project despite costs coming in above estimates is expected to be offset with the help of donations.
“There’s some fundraising that’s going to happen by the local wrestling club,” said Krebsbach. “Their goal is to raise $275,000.”
Laures added, “We so much appreciate the support of our community, because we just could not make it without them.”
Voters approved a $7.75 million bond issue last year to help fund construction. It will be repaid by extending an existing property tax levy for another six years to 2042.
Proceeds from the 1% state sales tax for schools and the district’s physical plant and equipment levy totaling $7 million and $1.5 million, respectively, are other funding sources. Denver Schools is also using another $2.1 million in cash from the two funds that had been built up when planning started.