- By: Jeanne Davant
School District 49 will soon break ground for a new building at the Falcon Legacy Campus that will greatly expand the district’s programming for students interested in the Careers in Construction pathway.
The new 4,800-square-foot building, adjacent to Patriot High School, will house expanded shop facilities and allow students to earn Home Building Institute construction certifications. Graduates will be employable immediately in the local construction industry.
A snowstorm forced the cancellation of a groundbreaking ceremony scheduled for March 4. It will be rescheduled for a later date, said David Nancarrow, director of communications, but a number of components for the new building have already been delivered to the site.
One small classroom currently is able to accommodate only a small group of students per semester, said Nikki Lester, District 49’s Director of Career and Technical Education.
Lester expects the Careers in Construction program to grow from 10-15 students to 170-200 students per year when the new building is completed by next fall.
“We would be open for other local schools, too, as well as some of our community partners,” she said.
The Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs helped District 49 obtain the nationally recognized Home Builders Institute Careers in Construction curriculum, a four-year pathway that begins with core concepts, and practices and proceeds through training in plumbing and electrical, HVAC, painting and finishing, weatherization and masonry as students progress.
Launched in 2015 in Harrison School District 2, the program has been adopted by 13 schools and has enrolled almost 500 students.
The new building will permit District 49 to offer the full curriculum.
“Right now, we’re only offering core skills and carpentry,” Lester said.
The Housing & Building Association and local contractors are facilitating construction of the building.
“The HBA knew we were having issues with our facilities and were confined by our current building structure,” Lester said.
Vantage Construction Founder and CEO George Hess, who is an HBA board member, “went to the HBA and helped advocate to get funding,” she said. “We were able to secure $500,000, which came from the Falcon building community itself and donations through contractors and builders associated with the HBA.”
For a related story on Careers in Construction in Widefield District 3, see the March 8 edition of the Colorado Springs Business Journal.