Poudre School District is building a new middle and high school in Wellington, with a target open date of fall 2022. Sady Swanson, email@example.com
Members of the Poudre School District and Wellington communities came together Monday to celebrate the beginning of construction of a new middle and high school in Wellington.
While the actual construction site was too muddy for the ceremony, PSD Superintendent Sandra Smyser assured the crowd gathered outside the current Wellington Middle School for the relocated “groundbreaking” that “they (were) moving some dirt around” at the site Monday.
The new middle and high school is set to open for the fall 2022 semester and will replace the Wellington Middle School, 4001 Wilson Ave. The new school will eventually host about 1,500 students from grades 6-12, according to the district.
Students who will eventually become the first high school freshman class to graduate from the new high school — in 2026 — joined Poudre School District officials at Monday’s ceremony. One of those students, current Wellington Middle School sixth-grader Alyse Jefferies shared excitement and gratitude for the community’s support in creating a high school in Wellington again.
“My teachers and my environment inspire me and encourage me to want to learn and use our schools as a space for a creative outlet,” Alyse told the crowd. “I am really excited for this new school and cannot wait to enter this new building and call it my home away from home.”
Wellington Middle School Principal Kelby Benedict said the new school will create a feeder system to better support Wellington students.
“These students around me, and the many more they represent, will have a learning environment that will empower them to become empathetic change agents of tomorrow,” Benedict said.
PSD school board president Christophe Febvre said for him and many other Poudre High School graduates, the decision to build a Wellington high school seemed “bittersweet” because it means taking Wellington kids out of the north Fort Collins high school.
“We all grew up with that little bit of Wellington toughness and resilience that kids from out here bring to everything they do,” Febvre said, adding that he became excited about the idea “after a bit of reflection.”
Wellington Mayor Troy Hamman said the construction of the new school will be very “impactful” for their small town. High school students will also benefit from not having to commute to Fort Collins every day for school, like Hamman did, he said. When he went to Poudre High School while living in Wellington, he said he spent about two hours riding the bus every day.
“I’m excited for our kids and our town,” Hamman said. “A high school helps identify a small town. It establishes a home field and a home team.”
The new middle and high school will be built about a mile and a half away from Wellington Middle School, west of Interstate 25 at Larimer County roads 9 and 62E.
“It is a school that will carry our children forward into their futures,” Smyser said.
Construction is expected to cost about $115 million to $130 million. The district bought the 127-acre parcel of land from local businessman Curtis Bridges in January for $5 million. In exchange for reducing his asking price by $500,000, the district agreed to name the media center in the new school for his late wife, according to the district.
More school funding: Voters approve tax increase to fund Poudre School District teacher salaries, safety
Funding for the new school comes from a 2016 voter-approved $375 million bond. The bond also funds the following projects:
- $40 million in improvements to 50 existing PSD schools
- A second new middle and high school at a site east of I-25 on Prospect Road
- An addition at Zach Elementary School
- Construction of a new southeast elementary school, a transportation maintenance facility, and athletics complex at the Prospect school site
Projects funded by the bond were delayed when community activist Eric Sutherland filed a lawsuit against PSD challenging the ballot issue’s language. Sutherland and PSD were entangled in three lawsuits. The court ruled in favor of PSD in all three.
Sady Swanson covers crime, courts, public safety and more throughout Northern Colorado. You can send your story ideas to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @sadyswan.
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