Caprock Academy closer to a permanent home

Alex Peters and Tatum Settje concentrate Thursday during a writing assignment in Natalia Miller-Forrest’s third-grade class at Caprock Academy, a public charter school in Grand Junction.


Caprock Academy Enrollment

The number of students currently enrolled for the 2010-11 school year are:

Kindergarten — 56

First grade — 56

Second grade — 56

Third grade — 57

Fourth grade — 52

Fifth grade — 54

Sixth grade — 48

Seventh grade — 28

Eighth grade — 23

Ninth grade — 22

10th grade — 12

Caprock Academy could have a permanent building as early as the first day of school in July 2011.

Caprock opened in the summer of 2007 and temporarily resided in a church before moving into a series of modular buildings at 640 24 1/2 Road.

The public charter school signed an agreement this week to purchase land less than a mile north of the school’s current site at 714 24 1/2 Road. A 65,000-square-foot building will be built there in two phases, with the first phase beginning early next year.

The first phase will include construction of a gym, two art rooms, a vocal music room and a band room, three science labs, a warming kitchen and administrative offices. Classrooms will be added to the building during a second construction phase as soon as funding is available. The first phase will be paid for with private bonds backfilled by state funding allocated annually to the school.

Students eat lunch in their classrooms and have gym class outdoors or in the classroom. The new, permanent facility will include a warming kitchen for lunch time and a gym large enough for Caprock students to host sports games against other schools.

The school has a basketball team and started a volleyball team this year, and both plan to use the gym.

Eight-year-old Caprock student Ella Dillon said she can’t wait to see what the new building looks like.

Her classmate, Jeremy Williams, 9, said he’s most excited to perform experiments in the three new science labs.

“Also, I’m excited more people are coming to our school,” he said.

Caprock’s enrollment has increased from 250 students when it opened to 464 students this year. The school has added a grade level each year since its inception and will graduate its first senior class in 2013.

Nearly doubling the school’s population in three years means things are a bit tight on the 4 1/2 acres the school leases, Caprock Headmaster Kristin Trezise said.

Trezise said the school never expected to stay in its current location, and it may examine opening a K-5 school in another location someday if enrollment keeps growing as it has in the elementary grades.

“Kindergarten through third-grade enrollment is where we have the most demand right now. That’s where the waiting lists are longest,” Trezise said.

The main campus still would be a K-12 school if a separate Caprock elementary opened, she said.

Third-grade teacher Natalie Miller-Forrest said the plans for the building, which will include pillars on the front of the building and, eventually, two stories worth of classroom space, are “just gorgeous.”

“These are nice,” she said, referring to the modulars students now use, “but it’s nice to have a permanent place.”


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