School Leaders Propose New Facility for Montbello Campus

Jul. 31, 2019
 
Exterior photo of Montbello Campus, as seen in 2014

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Dear Montbello Community,

We have some exciting news to share with you all about an opportunity to improve the Montbello campus. We are writing this letter to provide you with details and to ask for your partnership in rebuilding the Montbello campus learning facilities.

As you may be aware, we had planned to remodel the cafeteria this summer. We have heard from students and community members that our building needs this along with many other improvements. School leaders have met with district officials, shared your concerns and discussed the possibility of dreaming bigger for the Montbello community.

Our facility opened in the fall of 1980. After nearly 40 years of service, we have an opportunity for the Montbello campus to move into the 21st century. A new campus would provide modern facilities that support student health and wellness, honor and preserve the legacy of Montbello’s past, and that are designed to prepare students for the careers of tomorrow. Instead of spending $2 million to remodel the cafeteria, we want to spend a portion of that money to design a new campus.

We welcome you — our current and future students, families and staff, as well as alumni and community members — to be a part of an inclusive process to design the Montbello campus of the future. Our charge is to put together a design plan and, with the support of district leadership, make the case that Denver Public Schools should include this large-scale project in an upcoming bond. The Board of Education will consider proposing this bond to Denver voters in November 2020.

As District 4 Board Director Jennifer Bacon shared, “This is a wonderful opportunity for Montbello. We have heard loud and clear that our community wants a learning environment that nurtures our students’ talents and needs. We are committed to walking with the community to design the modern, innovative learning spaces our students deserve.” At-large Board Director Happy Haynes added, “The alumni of Montbello have gone on to do such amazing things in the community and around the nation. This planning effort presents an opportunity to honor the history of those alums while our current students participate in designing learning spaces for the new Montbello campus that will serve the students and the Warrior legacy.”

Improving Montbello campus for the students of today

Over the past five years, DPS and the voters of Denver have made significant investments in improving the Montbello facility. Based on the facility needs and with urging from the schools and community, we’ve made $8 million of HVAC upgrades, added a new turf field and lighting, and opened a remodeled library and a brand new weight room. Additionally, we have completed school-prioritized projects, such as classroom and technology upgrades for DCIS Montbello, dance room upgrades and creating art room space for NCAS Middle School, and front office and classroom technology upgrades for STRIVE Montbello. And, we’re continuing to invest and partner with our Montbello community — we are excited to share more later this fall about a new technology lab that will be opening this year.

Designing a new facility for the students of tomorrow

While we continue to invest in improvements for our current students, we hope you’ll join us as part of the architect-led process of envisioning and designing new learning facilities we could create for our future students.

We plan to host several community forums and focus groups in the fall with the goal of honoring Montbello’s legacy and co-creating a vision for the new campus. In the winter and spring, we will begin more detailed conversations to develop specific plans for building designs.

A few important details

Some members of our community have shared their desire that Denver Public Schools bring a comprehensive high school back to the campus. Please understand that this proposal is not that. We have met with district officials, outlined your concerns about our current facility and shared our desire to create a new facility that supports our three great schools that currently call the Montbello campus home.

We are fortunate that the Montbello campus has enough space that we could begin to build new facilities while continuing to serve students in our existing facilities. We also want to assure you that we are working to improve the issues that have been identified in the cafeteria usage and if our project is not selected to be included in a 2020 bond, or if the bond does not pass during the 2020 election, Denver Public Schools commits to funding the originally planned cafeteria upgrade.

We are all very excited by what this opportunity represents for the community and for our students and families. We look forward to working together in this process. Thank you for your continued support for Montbello schools.

Sincerely,

Julio Contreras

Principal, DCIS Montbello

 

Rhonda Juett

Principal, Noel Community Arts School

 

Lyndsay Lau

Principal, STRIVE Prep Montbello

 

Mark Ferrandino

Deputy Superintendent of Operations