Move won’t end Math & Science Center, New Emerson link

Christopher Tomlinson/The Daily Sentinel—New Emerson School Principal Terry Schmalz works with students at the school. The John McConnell Math and Science Center of Western Colorado plans to continue its relationship with the school after moving into a new facility near Dinosaur Journey in Fruita.



The John McConnell Math and Science Center of Western Colorado may physically move away from its spot within the New Emerson School building, but both sides plan to continue a long-distance relationship.

Teresa Coons, executive director of the Math and Science Center, announced plans in December for the center to move into a new facility to be constructed near Dinosaur Journey in Fruita. That move is still two or three years away, Coons said. When it happens, all of the center’s exhibits and personnel will relocate to Fruita.

Coons said she’s not exactly sure how the relationship between the center and the school will look after the move but she confirmed the two will remain connected.

“It could mean them coming to us, it could mean (Math and Science Center Education Director) Eric (Rinaldo) coming to them,” Coons said. “It’s going to look different but we’re not going to abandon them.”

New Emerson Principal Terry Schmalz said the school hopes to continue to work with Rinaldo, who meets with each grade level once a week at the center. The center has partnered with the school to provide supplemental lessons since the school became a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) magnet in fall 2010 and Rinaldo has worked with New Emerson teachers and staff to shape engineering lessons for students.

“Hopefully he can come here and continue with the model we currently have,” Schmalz said.

Once the Math and Science Center vacates the building at 2660 Unaweep Ave., Schmalz said District 51 will decide what will replace it. Schmalz said the school’s preference would be to turn the empty space into a library. The space used to house a library before the center moved in, she said, and the library currently is located in a classroom. Neighbors on the New Emerson campus also have included a young parent program and Dual Immersion Academy.


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