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Spring 2023 Additions Improve Student Experiences

Spring 2023 Additions at Standley Lake High School and Jefferson County Open School Improve Student Experiences
Posted on 04/20/2023
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Two Jeffco schools are improving their students’ experiences by staying flexible.

Standley Lake High School in Westminster and Jefferson County Open School (Jeffco Open School) in Lakewood opened additions to their buildings this spring. These building improvements not only help modernize their schools  but also flex to serve multiple purposes for students.

Jeffco Builds, the $567 million voter-approved bond project that funded these projects, is 84% complete. The district has completed every promised project and added many more improvements throughout the district by prudently managing the revenue from the bonds endorsed by voters in 2018.

Standley Lake High School Gets Second Gym

With 1,300 students, one gym simply wasn’t enough at Standley Lake. After-school sports and activities typically shared a space, which required  staggering  schedules or holding practices at other nearby schools.

For example, the freshmen boys basketball team often practiced in the gym several hours after school ended. The student-athletes would go home then have to find a ride back to school later for practice, an inconvenience for students and their families who are too young to drive themselves. 

The school opened a new auxiliary gym in February. Now, except for swimming and hockey, the school has all sports and activities on site expanding creating greater accessibility for all students. “For a school of this size to only have one gym doesn’t work,” said Heather Martin, a gym teacher and the school’s PE department chair. “We needed this.” 

One highlight of the new gym is its retractable seating, allowing it to quickly transition from an event space to an even larger floor for athletics or school functions. 

standley lake new gym with retractable seating

Additionally, the new facility has provided a morale boost for students. Hosting sports and activities under one roof also helps increase attendance at events and student participation in student activities. 

students enjoy the new Standley Lake gym

The benefits extend to the community, as well. Vice Principal Joe Generose said the school sometimes had to turn away events looking for space because the school’s own activities got scheduling priority. He looks forward to being able to host graduations, art fairs, and science fairs at the school more frequently.

“Having that community involvement is important for our school culture,” he said. “With new facilities, you can definitely see that cultural impact. I hope it positively affects school enrollment and athletic involvement. It makes students want to come here and be involved.” 

The school also received other updates paid for with bond revenues, including a library renovation, LED lights, a new track and field, and a secure front entrance. These upgrades improve the overall school experience and create access to modern, well-equipped facilities, helping students  learn, grow and thrive.

Standley Lake High School ($8,000,000 invested) 


Jefferson County Open School (Jeffco Open School) Gets New Auditorium

Built in 1930, Jeffco Open School’s building is the oldest continuously used school building in the district; it even predates the creation of the district itself. Recent additions to the building made possible by the Jeffco Builds bond has provided students and staff at the school with the technology and facility quality aligned with Jeffco’s mission to provide a world-class education.

Jeffco’s option schools have been providing student-led experiences since 1970, and Jeffco Open School has been the home to that curriculum since 1989. With a student enrollment of more than 300 and a nontraditional education style, the Jeffco Open School has always offered a unique model for students and their families.

The recent auditorium addition, Pre-K and classroom renovation finishes a two-phase addition and renovation of the school that started with a different bond project in 2004. Phase I was completed in 2010.

The new auditorium has more seating, a larger stage, current technology for lighting and sound, and more behind-the-scenes space for set construction and costuming. And like Standley Lake High School, the theater, which can seat the school’s entire student body, has retractable seating that can be folded up so the space can be used for multiple purposes. 

See how Jeffco Open School’s new theater contributes to an extraordinary student experience.

Meanwhile, the old theater is seeing new life with advanced, cutting edge technology. The auditorium portion of the theater is now a lecture hall and can host performances and large classes. The back of the theater, which held the old green room and workshop, was converted into a “makerspace” for robotics and computer programming.

“With students Pre-K through 12, a lot of kids grow up here. For the students who get to experience the building for their entire K-12 career, there’s a palpable sense of pride in having these spaces be brought up to the norm across the district,” said Principal Scott Bain. “Our community feels honored that the taxpayers contributed a significant investment into a program that’s been successfully serving students for 50 years. And it feels like recognition of that.”

Jeffco Open School ($12,100,000 invested)

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