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Construction of the $27 million Three Creeks Elementary started in May 2016 with the goal to take pressure off the two existing elementary schools in the area and address the growing population in Arvada’s new Candelas neighborhood.
“The explosive growth that we’ve seen and the pressure it’s put on our existing buildings had to be dealt with,” said Tim Reed, executive director of facilities and construction management for Jeffco schools.
The building is designed to hold 1,000 students at total buildout. Enrollment for the first school year is about 400 with students in kindergarten through sixth grades. Over the following two school years, seventh and eighth grades will be added.
Three Creeks will help alleviate severe overcrowding at West Woods Elementary and Meiklejohn Elementary, which have a combined 14 temporary classrooms between the two.
It is the first new school in Jefferson County in 10 years and the land was made available through a development agreement with the Candelas housing development project.
Along with being a great example of newer learning concepts, Reed said the school also utilizes more water and energy efficient features, including LED lighting, polished concrete floors and carpet tile, which will make the school easy to maintain from a custodial and maintenance perspective.
To supplement that, numerous sun-reflecting solar tubes bring in plenty of natural light.
“It helps brighten the rooms,” said senior project manager Tom Stapleton. “It helps even people’s moods and their ability to focus, just having that natural daylight in the building.”
— Shanna Fortier
In the weeks before the first day of school for Jefferson County students, teachers at Three Creeks K-8 in Arvada saw their classrooms for the first time. As construction workers put the finishing touches on the new school, technology was being installed and classroom furniture unpacked.Teacher Jeremiah Mey organized non-traditional seating in his fifth-grade classroom and unpacked books for the classroom bookshelf. For Mey, the opening of the school is the beginning of a new era, as he previously taught at Pleasant View Elementary in Golden, which closed its doors permanently at the end on the 2016-17 school year.“It’s pretty cool to close one down and then get to open one up,” Mey said.The flexible seating in Mey’s classroom includes pogo stools, swivel chairs and chairs with exercise balls. There is also a standup desk and a special table that doubles as a whiteboard. This is the first year Mey is incorporating this kind of seating into his classroom. He hopes that it will create a collaborative, project-based and student-focused learning environment.The flexible seating is something Three Creeks Principal Laura Wilson is excited to offer as a major part of the new school’s teaching philosophy along with one-to-one iPads for students, a digital curriculum, digital library books and a STEM focus.“We’re really looking at 21 century learning,” Wilson said. “We’re a school of innovation — trying to prepare our kids for jobs that have not been created yet.”Wilson, who was named Colorado Principal of the Year in 2012-13, came to Jeffco Public Schools from Douglas County, where she helped open Redstone Elementary in Highlands Ranch 13 years ago.“It was a great opportunity to open a new school again,” Wilson said of taking the position at Three Creeks, at 19486 W. 94th Ave. “To create a new mission and visions, create a 21st century school with a STEM approach and be able to hand-select my own staff … build a legacy the second time around of building a great school.”Arvada resident and parent Jenny Pergola said her first- and third-graders, who will attend Three Creeks are excited about their iPads and the STEM focus.“I have an engineering background and my husband, math,” Pergola explained. “Knowing that their parents have a technical background and having the ability to utilize STEM resources in elementary school and middle school makes the kids feel like they’re relating more to their parents.”Pergola is also a member of the school’s PTO board, which has been working with community partners to raise funds for student supplies and a marquee for the front of the school.“For our kids and our friends to open a new school together and experience that through eighth grade is something our whole family is really excited about,” Pergola said. “We’re just really excited to have this piece of the community and to continue to grow. Opening a school is an awesome way to do that.”
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