By Talia Traskos-Hart
Swansea Elementary students will return to a changed campus when they go back to school this month.
While construction projects on I-70 cost the school one field, they also allowed the Colorado Department of Transportation to add a playground and amphitheater, among other additions, to the school’s campus. Stacia Sellers, a communications officer at the Colorado Department of Transportation, said that the four-year project has given the Pre-K-5th grade school a distinctly different feel.
“Students used to have to cross under I-70 in a kind of dark and shadowy area,” she explained of the past layout. “Now at Swansea, you really have no idea that I-70 is really right next to that area.”
Alongside a new playground, the school has gained a new entrance, an additional heating and air conditioning unit, and an outdoor classroom space.
“The amphitheater will be open to the community to have poetry readings, concerts, or however they may want to use that space,” Sellers noted.
The construction will come to its final end this November with the completion of a soccer field with stadium lights. In total, construction projects at Swansea have cost the Department of Transportation $19 million, which Sellers said brought about a “really drastic difference” to the school’s campus. Sellers said the improvements were made possible due to the Department of Transportation’s “great relationship with the elementary school staff.”
Vice Principal Marc Rodriguez agreed, saying the construction team did “a really nice job of accommodating us through all of this and keeping us up to date.”
Alongside the physical changes to the school, Swansea Elementary will implement its dual-language program in first grade this year after a successful implementation of the program in early childhood education and kindergarten classrooms last year. Rodriguez noted the program’s success thus far and his excitement to expand its reach.
“It’s been really cool to see all of their Spanish abilities,” he said. “It’s great that all of our students will be learning two languages.”