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Building Forward: High schools kick off planning for innovation spaces
What would you do with $1.5 million to renovate your high school?
That was the question posed this month to Site Advisory Teams at all six district high schools. When Cherry Creek Schools voters showed their overwhelming support of the district and passed the $150 million dollar bond package in November 2020, they voted to create innovation spaces for high school students to support innovation and career planning. This month, the project officially kicked off with meetings at the high schools to begin envisioning innovative spaces that will support students now and in the coming years.
Site Advisory Teams include school leaders, faculty, staff, students, and parents to provide input into the design process, allowing schools to create a unique and flexible space to serve students today and in the future. These groups met to discuss distinctive identities of each school, what was special about their community and the best ways to use the funding.
“We take so much pride in our students at Smoky,” English teacher and Yearbook advisor Carrie Faust said. “This is a great opportunity to think of how we can make a space that will support their academic goals both during high school and after they graduate. We ultimately want a community-focused space that fosters creativity and collaboration.”
As in the elementary and middle school innovation space projects, high school teams will work with the appointed architectural firms over the next five months to develop the design that the general contractor will construct during the summer of 2022. The district has retained Wold Architects to design the innovation spaces at Cherry Creek High School, Overland High School and Smoky Hill High School; Cuningham Group Architecture was selected to lead the design efforts at Eaglecrest High School, Grandview High School and Cherokee Trail High School.
While each school will be able to apply the funding in ways that work best for their community, the intent is to focus on innovation with an emphasis on career and technical education (CTE) where students can apply their learning. The goal is to advance innovations in a way that fosters students' abilities to think creatively, to experiment with possibilities, and to develop solutions that contribute to society.
Assistant Superintendent of Career & Innovation Sarah Grobbel shared that the district hopes for a level of continuity across grade levels that will help students find their unique pathway of purpose.
“In elementary school, a student could learn to use a 3D printer and then learn how to make their own designs in middle school,” Grobbel said. “When that student reaches high school, they should expect an innovative space that allows them to take what they’ve learned and think about how it can apply to their goals after high school.”