A significant number of school improvement projects are already underway or finished – bettering learning environments for our students and teachers.
From new classrooms and sports turfs and to expanded technology access, the voter-approved 2016 DPS Bond and Mill Levy is already making a remarkable impact – an ‘Education Renovation’ of sorts – on our school communities. The promised $572-million investment provides critical maintenance updates to our schools and classrooms while improving safety and comfort for our students and teachers.
Behind the scenes, “a lot of people and a lot of effort goes into putting one of these projects together,” said Tim Coy, manager of quality assurance and warranty in DPS’s Construction Services department. “It is our responsibility to make sure that Denver Public Schools and Denver taxpayers get what they paid for.”
The project managers overseeing that accountability effort are often working on several projects at once, and it’s a point of pride for them as full-time employees of Denver Public Schools.
“I think what a lot of our team does is (provide) the tools that the students don’t necessarily see,” said DPS construction project manager Sherri Causey, who oversaw the installation of a new boiler at Sabin World Elementary. “Keeping the kids on an even comfort level temperature-wise helps them with their learning, so that they’re not getting too hot or too cold throughout their day as they’re going from classroom to classroom.”
Other already completed projects span from the creation of flexible classrooms at Asbury Elementary to accommodate growing enrollment, safer sports turfs at Montbello and Abraham Lincoln High Schools, a new roof for the auxiliary classrooms at Eagleton Elementary, and the MyTech program – which has distributed more than 8,000 laptops at 14 schools.
“The biggest reward for me is when we first open the doors for that first day of school, and the look on those kids’ faces when they see their new school or what we added to their school,” said construction project manager Tim Heldenbrand, who oversaw work at Asbury.
At Swansea Elementary, the school community has undergone major updates to its original 1970s-era open classroom design. The new classrooms still encourage occasional cross-classroom collaboration, but now have small group breakout rooms, doors and walls to establish more quiet settings for learning.
“That’s what I take pride in. That I represent DPS and the school. And the kids! Yeah! Students first!” said Emma Grogan, a construction project manager who oversaw work at Swansea.
The school also received new furniture and lighting, as well as a revamp of its HVAC system. Projects at Swansea were covered by CDOT as well as the 2012 and 2016 Bonds.
“That’s why we’re here,” said Ron Buckner, the furniture, fixture and equipment project manager in DPS. “These are our future lawyers, presidents, et cetera. We need to make sure that they get the best start that they can get.”