09/24/2016 01:19:36 PM MDT
The building, expected to be complete Aug. 1, will house middle and high school students
Loveland Classical Schools principal Ian Stout welcomes community members Saturday to the groundbreaking ceremony on the site of a new school building for middle and high school students near the intersection of West 29th Street and Wilson Avenue in Loveland. (Michael Brian / Loveland Reporter-Herald) As 10-year-old Sailor Groeneman dug in his shovel Saturday, the dirt flew for what will be his future school.
The fifth-grader joined two dozen children imitating the adults in the official digging for the groundbreaking ceremony for Loveland Classical Schools. Ian Stout, principal of the charter school, members of school staff and the architects and contractors for the project to build a 52,800-square-foot-building for middle and school students participated in the initial dig following 10 minutes of speeches.
“It will allow more students to come. It will be another really great school,” Sailor said.
The groundbreaking launched construction of a second site for the school, which now divides students at the original building at 3835 SW 14th St. for grades K-5 and at leased space at Faith Church for grades 6-12.
The new site, which sits on 12 acres at 3015 W. 29th St. near Wilson Avenue, will open for the 2017-18 school year to serve an expected 300 students. Construction on the school is expected to be complete by Aug. 1.
“I think it’s going to be something really big,” said 15-year-old Isabella Thye, a 10th-grader and student at the school since it opened. “I’m just excited we won’t be in a church in someone else’s building. We’ll actually have our own building.”
Currently, there are 270 middle and high school students and a total of 770 students throughout the school. The school opened in 2011 with 540 students, and with the two buildings, including the recent purchase of the original 43,000-square-foot building, it can hold up to 950 students. That includes 450 students in the middle and high school.
“While we celebrate the victory, we really haven’t arrived,” Stout said in his speech. “This is just the stepping stone to the next level. … It’s all about engaging, connecting and collaborating, and that’s what I see happen with this school.”
Stout invited Lisa Gardner, architect for the project with Hord Coplan Macht in Denver, to talk about the construction of a classical building to support a classical education and liberal arts curriculum.
“We started to look at what are the principles of classical design,” Gardner said. “When you look at ancient Greek and ancient Roman architecture, there’s balance and proportion and scale and rhythm and symmetry. We still want to use those types of principles but with the modern technology and construction technology we have today.”
The total cost for the building and land purchases and new construction is estimated at $20 million, $9 million of which was for the construction work. The construction, funded through tax-exempt bonds paid through the school’s operating budget, will include classrooms, a science lab, a library, a cafeteria, music and art rooms and room for two future additions.
“This is one of the last pieces that our school needed to help us transition out of the start-up mode to a school of growth and a school to implement the classical education we want for the school and families here,” said Pete Bowlan, assistant principal of grades K-8 this year and of grades K-5 next year. “I see it as the best opportunity for us to prepare students to be positive contributors in our community. It develops skills to let them think for themselves.”
Molly Miller, 13, is excited to be able to attend school in the new building, she said.
“We’re really excited it’s coming into being,” Molly said. “I love the culture. I love the classical experience, being enriched in literature and seminar. It’s a higher level of excellence.”
Carrie Christiansen of Loveland has two children attending the school, one in second grade and one in fourth grade.
“We really like the classical education style,” Christiansen said. “It’s focused on classical literature and organizing information and teaching the kids how to think critically about it and form their own opinions.”