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Beam signing ceremony marks important milestone for Elementary #45

Students and staff at the Elementary #45 beam signing ceremony Dec. 1.At first glance, the dusty construction site in Aurora’s Blackstone neighborhood offers little in the way of definite clues about its future.

Though the frame of a new, ambitious building is in place, the project is still very much in its early phases – the beams and bars are still skeletal, and no final walls, doors or other recognizable features are in place.

That didn’t stop Teolyn Bourbonnie from sketching out the layout of the Cherry Creek School District’s newest elementary school for a group of students, parents and community members at the site on Dec. 1. Bourbonnie, principal of the yet unnamed Elementary #45, filled in the conceptual gaps, pointing out the site of the school’s future gym, its state-of-the-art outdoor learning decks, its sections for different grades and other features.

“You can see the gym, you can see the main floors and the main entrance … Every classroom is going to have a garage door to facilitate different types of learning,” Bourbonnie told the crowd that gathered at the site for a special milestone. “Your new school is almost ready, and we are so excited!”

The students, parents, teachers and administrators had come to the site to add their names to a construction beam that would be a part of the building’s inner core. Armed with markers, the small group signed the beam as a mark of progress, and as a signal of their investment in the school, which is set to open in August of 2022. At the end of the ceremony, a crane lifted the beam and set it into place on the building’s framework. With snacks and treats at hand, students offered “oohs” and “ahs” as they watched the latest piece of their new home fall into place.

“Welcome to your new school! We’re all here to watch the beam go up into the air,” Bourbonnie told the crowd, revealing some excited facts about the new elementary building located on the west side of S. Blackstone Parkway. “Make sure you talk to our teachers. Teachers and administrators here today are wearing red and black – those are our school colors.”

Other important updates about the school, including its mascot and its final name, will come in the following months, as community members participate in surveys and meetings to help steer the final features. Parent leadership groups are coming together, and students are adding their voices to the development process.

All of these steps are part of a process that kicked off with overwhelming support from the larger CCSD community for bond measures that would fund the new school, which will continue the district’s dedication to excellence and alleviate overcrowding in other parts of the district. Offering students and families a new school to maintain small class size and one-on-one relationships with teachers and administrators aligns with Cherry Creek Schools’ core values, which include attending to the whole child in the school environment, developing relationships, focusing on mental health and social-emotional health and implementing a growth mindset.

Before the crane lifted the beam bearing dozens of signatures into place, Bourbonnie thanked the construction company (JHL Construction), the architects (RTA Architecture) and the broader CCSD community for making the concept of a new elementary school a reality. She also thanked the students for their involvement and investment in the process.

“You’ve done a great job,” she said. "Be brave. Be bold. Be brilliant."

- Posted 12/2/21 at 11 AM