Digging for the Future [w/video]

Wednesday, July 24, 2019 - 11:00am

Five Star Schools breaks ground on new career education campus

District leaders, community representatives and industry partners celebrated the start of construction July 23 on FutureForward at Washington Square, the district’s second career and technical education campus.

The start of construction on the Washington Square campus - located in the Washington Square Business Park near 126th Avenue and Washington Street in Thornton - fulfills a promise of the community-supported 2016 Bond Program to expand CTE opportunities for students across the district. An estimated 25 percent of students interested in CTE opportunities at the district’s existing Bollman campus are currently turned away because of a shortage of program space. The new campus, scheduled to open in Fall 2020, is expected to increase CTE opportunities for district students by as much as 80 percent.


Speakers for the groundbreaking ceremony included Five Star Schools Superintendent Chris Gdowski, Five Star Schools Board of Education President Kathy Plomer, City of Thornton Mayor Heidi Williams and Adams 12 Community Action Network President Maura Devine. An audience of about 80 people also heard from James Tulloch, general manager with Cummins Rocky Mountain - an industry partner for the district's diesel automotive program - and Kaylea Beck, a 2017 Legacy High School graduate who used medical science and EMT courses at the existing Bollman campus to launch a promising firefighter/paramedic career.

A large contingent of emergency vehicles from local fire and police departments and ambulance services served as backdrop for ceremony speakers and represented the growing emergency service training program that the new campus will serve. The Washington Square campus will offer existing district CTE programs such as construction trades, welding, an introductory diesel mechanic course and Emergency Medical Technician training. New programming will include criminal justice, forensic science and fire science programs as well as an advanced diesel mechanic program.

Five Star Schools Superintendent Chris Gdowski called the opportunity to expand career training opportunities in the district "a personal dream come true" and also a dream of the broader Five Star Community. He also noted that the new campus would meet a growing demand for students who don't want to wait for relevant education to match their dreams and goals.

"At its core, not only at these two campuses - Bollman and Washington Square - but throughout the system, we realize that having relevant opportunities for our students to apply skills now is a must do and something of high interest and demand, not only to them, but our broader community," he said. 

Cuningham Group Architecture designed the new campus with an emphasis on the needs of current programs as well as an eye toward future program needs with adaptable, flexible learning spaces in a building designed to allow for expansion.

The new facility, with about 49,500 square-feet of space, will feature three high bay learning labs to accommodate diesel, welding and construction programs along with an adjacent exterior work yard. It will also have classroom and lab space for criminal science, forensic science, EMT and fire science programs as well as a dedicated high-bay learning space for situational-learning opportunities for these respective programs.

The building will reflect an industrial interior aesthetic with exposed mechanical and structural systems, polished concrete floors and exposed precast concrete panels. These will not only provide a contemporary feel but also serve as a teaching tool for students as they learn about these systems. 

The campus is also designed with a focus on energy efficiency. Project general contractor Adolfson and Peterson Construction will build a full geothermal well system to support building heating and cooling needs with 70 wells for the new building and 50 additional wells to support future expansion. The high performance building envelope includes insulated precast panels; masonry veneer and metal panel walls with continuous insulation; thermally broken window frames; optimized glazing as well as LED lighting throughout the building.

In addition to the new CTE campus construction, a two-year bond renovation project began this summer to update facilities and programming at the Bollman campus. More than 30 bond construction and improvement projects are taking place in Summer 2019 across the Five Star District, thanks to the investment of the Five Star Community through the $350 million bond program. Learn more about the 2016 Bond Program at www.adams12.org/bond.