Pueblo West Metro district, charter school partner up

December 22, 2016

The Pueblo Chieftain
December 22, 2016

Set to open a second campus in Fulton Heights, Pueblo School for the Arts and Sciences next presence may be in Pueblo West.

The school and the Pueblo West Metropolitan District Board of Directors recently finalized an agreement in which the metro district will provide land for construction of a proposed school, to be chartered by Pueblo County School District 70.

The land, 59 acres in total with a zoned value of $1.8 million, is located in the northern part of Pueblo West, in proximity to Linda Avenue and Matt Drive.

“Without the forward-thinking vision and planning of past district boards who built wastewater infrastructure in this area, this opportunity would not have been possible,” said Jay-Michael Baker, community engagement manager for the district.

The land will allow for construction of a kindergarten through eighth-grade facility, with accommodation for future construction of a high school.

Brian Repola, executive director of PSAS, said the agreement gives the school “five years to decide what we would like to do. We are going to begin initial talks with D70 to share our vision, but we cannot actually secure a charter with the district outside of 12 months of opening.

“So it’s going to be at least two to three years of planning, fundraising and so forth. We are very thankful for the land and the future possibilities it will give us, but the main focus of the PSAS board and administration at this time is the main campus on Jones and the new school at Fulton Heights.”

Added Baker, “As a District 70 charter school, the proposed institution will conform to the original intent for this land. With only one school north of U.S. 50 in Pueblo West, this will add a much-needed primary and secondary education presence there.

“In addition, the new school will boost Pueblo West’s economic development efforts, adding 30 to 90 new jobs with the school itself, and improving on an already excellent academic environment in Pueblo West.”

For the time being, though, the focus is on Fulton Heights, a charter for which the board of education of Pueblo City Schools (D60) recently granted.

To date, nearly $800,000 in grants for that school have been secured, including a $65,000 capital construction grant from the Gates Family Foundation in Denver, which was matched by the PSAS board.

Those funds will be used to start renovations of the Fulton Heights building next month.



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