Permanent home for Independence in planning stage
If construction plans go as scheduled for a new facility, this will be Independence Academy’s final school year in the former Lincoln Park Elementary building at 600 N. 14th St.
The decade-old charter school plans to build an 18,000-square-foot, one-story building and place an additional 18,000 square feet of modular space on a 40-acre parcel east of Matchett Park between F 1/2 Road and Highline Canal along 29 Road. Principal Damon Lockhart said the school’s plan is to have the building finished and the modulars brought in by the end of July so the school can move onto the new site next August.
“Our parents and kids are really excited because historically we’ve been in four or five buildings since our inception so they’re excited to have a place they can call home,” Lockhart said.
The academy is moving for two reasons, according to Lockhart. District 51 owns the Lincoln Park building and would like to end the lease with Independence Academy and use the building for other purposes. At the same time, the school needs more room to accommodate a growing student body. The school has expanded from roughly 135 students in fall 2007 to 345 students this fall.
The school will use a Colorado Educational and Cultural Facilities Authority moral obligations bond and some capital improvement reserve funding to pay for the expansion. Lockhart said he isn’t sure what the final price tag will be for the new building and connected modulars, but he’s anticipating it will be in the neighborhood of $4 million.
“We’re going to be kicking off a fundraising campaign shortly,” he said.
The academy has selected FCI Constructors as the project’s general contractor and Blythe Group & Co. as the architect for the new building. The building will have four classrooms for kindergarten and first-graders, a library, gym, music room, common area and offices.
The school’s second- through eighth-grade classrooms will be housed in modulars for at least the first three to five years at the new site, which will also include play areas and practice fields.