No summer break for crews remodeling, updating schools

A crew from PNCI Construction works on the new entrance to Fruita High School on Friday. The school is undergoing a huge face-lift this summer. It is one of many projects that will be funded by the 2017 bond measure approved by voters.

Drywall dust and the sound of heavy machinery are in the air at two dozen schools across District 51 this summer.

Nearly $26 million in construction funded by the 2017 bond measure will go toward everything from new carpet and sidewalks to remodeled bathrooms and updated electrical systems.

This is the second summer of major construction projects in District 51, with nearly $23 million spent last summer.

High schools will see some of the biggest changes, including Fruita Monument High School's front entry remodel and upgrades at Central High School targeting its science, technology, engineering and math program.

Fruita Monument's new $8 million entrance will enclose the school's front courtyard and build a central corridor down the center of the school, eliminating 13 exterior doors.

Central's $700,000 in upgrades include a larger classroom to accommodate dual-subject classes of up to 50 students, a fabrication lab and an outdoor classroom.

School board member Paul Pitton said he's excited for the benefits to schools as well as the local economy.

"I couldn't be more pleased with the work," he said. "Everything has been on schedule and under budget, which has freed up funds to do other things. Fruita Monument is part of where that savings went, and without it that might not be happening."

Most projects will be finished by the time students return to school in August, although construction at Fruita Monument will continue into the school year.

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