First things first, thank you, Wheat Ridge. You are an incredible community that comes together whether you have been here for decades or are new to the neighborhood. We did not save our beloved elementary schools, Wilmore Davis, Vivian or Kullerstrand. But as a community, we came together in love for our kids, educators and neighborhoods. With all my heart, thank you.
If we want to “Save Our Community – Save Our Schools,” we must hold the school district accountable for these improvements that our community and school deserve. Wheat Ridge High School is at 57 percent capacity because of students’ choice into other schools. If we want to save our high school and all our schools, we need the district to fund these capital improvements, and then, as a community, we must be there to help build the pipeline from preschool to elementary school to middle school to high school.
You have seen the signs around town, “Save Our Community – Save Our Schools,” and even though the school board and school district voted to close three Wheat Ridge elementary schools, we can not stop advocating for our neighborhood schools. Wheat Ridge High School (WRHS) is due to receive its funding for capital improvements from a 2018 Bond that passed. Wheat Ridge projects have not started but should start this summer, nearly five years after the funds were made available. Now that the school district has gotten to Wheat Ridge, prices for labor and construction products have skyrocketed. Also, our high school is five years older, and the original prioritized projects are now different. Our high school is in disrepair, and neighboring high schools that have completed capital improvements are far more enticing for our Wheat Ridge students to attend.
Councilor Korey Stites and I toured WRHS on Friday, Feb. 17, with school leadership and a school district staff member. We walked the halls and saw the plans for this summer’s construction, including many utility must-do upgrades. A new entrance and a new commons area, and we advocated for a new basketball court, not just resurfacing, and the gym floor was installed in 1957, and it’s the same floor. We also advocated for an overhaul of the auditorium. We must have these improvements fully funded, and I am calling on our community to jump in again and advocate for our neighborhood schools. Call your school board members and email the school district [contact info on www.jeffcopublicschools.org]. Attend school board meetings if your schedule allows, and if we get these improvements, let’s all show up for Wheat Ridge High School this August when they open their revamped and improved doors!