GAZETTE: Gift of modular buildings helps Pikes Peak Prep grow
Pikes Peak Prep students will return to a much larger school when classes start Aug. 13.
The first of eight modular buildings were delivered Monday to the charter school at 525 E. Costilla St. The buildings are from The Classical Academy charter school in Academy School District 20.
“You can’t turn down such a generous gift and a chance to grow,” said Dawn Nelson, Pikes Peak Prep principal.
The K-12 school has 360 students enrolled for this year, up from 290 students last year, she said. Once the buildings are in place, the school will have the space to nearly double its current enrollment.
“We were tight on space in the current building,” said Kevin Teasley, founder and CEO of The Greater Educational Opportunities (GEO) Foundation that supports and funds the school. “There’s a need and we’ve been able to move.”
For the 2012-2013 school year, the modular buildings will house upper level English and social studies classes, choir and band, a weight and fitness room, a workshop for engineering and 3D art programs and possibly a parent center. Courtyards between the buildings will provide outdoor eating and meeting space for older students.
The additional space will ease the expansion of science, technology, engineering and math programs, Nelson said.
“It gives up the chance to do things we’ve wanted to do,” she said.
Each building has space for two classrooms. Most of the space will be used this coming year, and the rest will be dedicated to storage until needed, Nelson said.
Eventually, all classes for seventh-graders through high school students will be in the modular buildings, and the main building will house K-6.
“Families are beginning to see all we have to offer,” Nelson said about the steadily increasing enrollment. Test scores have also been consistently improving, she said.
The surrounding community has voiced support for the expansion, she said.
TCA no longer needed the classroom space at its main campus on Stout Road in northern Colorado Springs, said TCA spokeswoman Jan Stump. The school started looking for a new home for the buildings in June. Four modular buildings will remain at TCA to be used for administration offices, she said.
Stump said the used buildings were valued at about $10,000 each.
“We’re really excited to invest in another charter school,” she said. Money for charter school construction comes from fundraising and per-pupil funds, she said, adding that money saved means more money for student needs.
New buildings would have been about four times the cost, Teasley said. The foundation is leasing land where the modular buildings will be placed from Assistance League of Colorado Springs, he said, declining to give a price. Murphy Construction, whose owner is on the Pikes Peak Prep governing board, has contributed time and equipment to prepare the land and piece the buildings together.
“We are really grateful for all the people who have come together on this,” he said. “We’re on the road to great success.”
The modular additions will get new paint, carpeting and Internet access.
Another piece of land adjacent to the school will eventually become an athletics field, Nelson said, although plans have not been finalized.
Pikes Peak Prep is chartered through the Colorado Charter School Institute, although it is within the boundaries of Colorado Springs School District 11. The school contracts with D-11 for food services.
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