- By: Debbie Kelley
A half-million dollar donation a nonprofit organization earmarked two years ago is finally on its way to fulfilling its intended purpose — a new building for School District 49’s Careers in Construction program.
“This is a project that’s been years in the making,” said Kevin Walker, president of Walker Schooler District Managers.
The Colorado Springs company manages the Falcon Community Builders for Classrooms, which, through voluntary donations from homebuilders, funds capital improvement projects in School District 49.
The $500,000 grant is paying for a building for training high school students to work in the construction industry after graduation.
The groundbreaking ceremony will be held 10:30 a.m. Monday on the Falcon Legacy Campus, 11990 Swingline Road in Peyton. The property also contains Patriot High School, an alternative blended learning school in D-49.
The 4,800-square-foot building will have classrooms and an open-area shop, said David Nancarrow, D-49 spokesman. Students from around the region will study carpentry, electrical and plumbing trades and learn components such as developing work site safety skills, using math in construction and reading print schematics.
The education prepares students to receive Home Building Institute certification to immediately work in the industry after earning a high school diploma.
The Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs initiated the Careers in Construction program in 2015 to provide pre-apprenticeship training for ninth- through 12th-grade students. It was the nation’s first construction trades certificate program for high school students that’s funded by those working in the industry.
The curriculum is adapted from the Home Builders Institute and certified by the U.S. Department of Labor.
It’s been popular in the Pikes Peak region, growing from fewer than 30 students in one high school four years ago to hundreds of students across several school districts.
D-49’s new building is expected to help expand the program in its district.
“This is the result of years of hard work and collaboration with our community partners at Falcon Community Builders for Classrooms and the Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs,” Nancarrow said.
“We share a commitment and vision to serve our students and are excited about the opportunity this space will provide.”
Aside from staff time and associated costs for utilities, for example, there are “no significant D-49 dollars going into the project at this point,” Nancarrow said.
Falcon Community Builders for Classrooms has donated more than $7 million to D-49 since 2008, Walker said. The money for the new construction classrooms and shop is one of the largest contributions, he said.
“Most of the things are relatively small, such as buses or other support vehicles,” Walker said. “Most of the builders who build in D-49 understand the value and contribute.”
The building will be ready for students by the start of the fall semester in August, Nancarrow said.
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