Parker will likely be home to the Douglas County School District's fourth alternative education facility, and first career and technical education facility — together on one campus. At the Feb. 19 …
This item is available in full to subscribers.
If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.
Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.
If you made a voluntary contribution of $25 or more in Nov. 2018-2019, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access Includes access to all websites
Parker will likely be home to the Douglas County School District's fourth alternative education facility, and first career and technical education facility — together on one campus.
At the Feb. 19 board of education meeting, six board members — Anthony Graziano was absent — unanimously approved an 18-acre site, zoned for a school, at 11041 Pine Drive, north of the intersection of Mainstreet and Pine Drive. The district's Long Range Planning Committee, which studies building and capacity needs, recommended the site because of its central location in Parker and availability. The district predicts growth in northeast Parker, but other dedicated school sites can be used if construction of a new school is needed.
District staff met with neighboring residents, town officials and the president of the Parker Area Chamber of Commerce to discuss the potential use of the Pine Drive site and future partnerships.
"Promises made, promises kept, that’s what this is about," Dennis Houston, president of the chamber, said at the board meeting. "How can we focus on career and technical education to show that we can really make an impact in the lives of the students and citizens of Douglas County?"
Ballot Issue 5B, a $250 million bond approved by voters last November, would fund the project. Of the $250 million, $39 million is allocated for career and technical education (CTE) and new construction. The remaining funds are going toward critical building repairs and capital reinvestments.
If developed, the Pine Lane facilities would not only provide learning opportunities for the 30 percent of Douglas County students who don't go on to a two- or four-year university, but also students interested in fast-tracking an associate's degree, workforce training or industry certification.
School board President David Ray is thrilled about the two facilities, he expressed at the Feb. 19 meeting.
“I break out in goose bumps thinking about the opportunities for those kids who need something different than what is offered in our traditional schools,” Ray said.
The district's three alternative education facilities are Daniel C. Oakes High School in Castle Rock, Eagle Academy in Lone Tree and Plum Creek Academy in Highlands Ranch. They serve students at risk of not completing high school, offering personalized learning and a strong sense of community, according to the schools' websites.
Currently the district doesn't have a facility dedicated to CTE, though its nine traditional high schools and some middle schools offer a total of 78 CTE programs. Rock Canyon High School, for example, offers a three-course program in fire science and public safety. Douglas County High School offers courses in agricultural science.
“All of our schools have a pretty good selection right now but not all of them lead to a degree or certification,” Assistant Superintendent Ted Knight said. “We want to use that (bond) money to take those programs the extra step.”
Some board members raised concerns about transportation, cost and capacity.
Transportation to and from the Pine Lane site isn't guaranteed, potentially limiting access to students in Highlands Ranch or Castle Rock, some of whom may live 30 minutes or more from the Parker location.
A timeline and cost have yet to be established. The concept is at the beginning stages, according to the district. The Douglas County Planning Commission would need to provide input on the site plan and a traffic analysis, according to Ray. The school board would then give the final approval to the site plan and construcion costs.
Adjacent to the site are 2 acres of open land owned by Douglas County that the school district expects to obtain at no cost, according to Rich Cosgrove, DCSD's chief operations office.
The site would accommodate a building equivalent to a 750- student elementary school, according to DCSD staff. The alternative education facility would serve roughly 150 students. The number of students at the CTE facility would depend on partnerships with the business community and student interest.
Other items that may interest you
We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.
The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.