Artist rendering of CCIC entrance provides perspective.
BY FREDA MIKLIN
Innovation is the new buzz word in education, business and industry. The Cherry Creek School District (CCS) has long recognized that there are many valuable jobs its students will pursue through a route other than a four-year college degree. There are also bachelor’s and advanced college degrees for which students can receive preliminary preparation during their high school years, based on up-to-date research, including aerospace/aviation and information technology.
It is for those reasons and more that CCS is building the Cherry Creek Innovation Campus (CCIC) for 11th- and 12th-graders. It will be focused on careers for today and in the future. CCS Superintendent Harry Bull said, “The CCIC is a perfect illustration of the Cherry Creek School District’s continued commitment to innovation and excellence. Thanks to the support of our community, this cutting-edge facility will help prepare our students for the demands of their ever-changing world. Excellence is a moving target, and it’s always moving up; this groundbreaking is the first step in a project that will help us all keep up with the evolving demands of education.” The district is long-recognized for its deep commitment to college preparedness. The impressive list of acceptances and college scholarship offers for its students bears out its success in accomplishing that goal, but Bull rightly asks the question, “Are we making the same commitment to prepare students for careers?” Cherry Creek Innovation Campus demonstrates that “This really is about fulfilling our mission for every single student in the Cherry Creek School District.”
Artist rendering of CCIC hospitality commons shows engaged students.
The 117,000-square-foot facility is being built on a 42-acre site at 8000 S. Chambers Road in Centennial. It is scheduled to open to students in August 2019, with new programs focused on the needs of an ever-changing world. The school, funded by a voter-approved referendum in November 2016, will house state-of-the-art facilities designed to mirror the real work environment students will encounter in fields like aerospace/aviation, health sciences, advanced manufacturing, business services, infrastructure engineering, information technology, and transportation. There will be high-tech labs, industry-specific spaces and unique areas for collaboration. The curriculum will include opportunities for apprenticeships and internships at area businesses in focused industries.
Participating in the festivities were dozens of CCS personnel from the board of education members to administrators, principals and even students. Government officials helping to launch the Cherry Creek Innovation Campus included Greenwood Village Mayor Ron Rakowsky, Centennial City Councilman Mike Sutherland, Arapahoe County Commissioner Jeff Baker, Aurora Ogg representing U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, and Annie Larson from Sen. Cory Gardner’s office. Speakers at the gathering were Bull, CCS Board President Dave Willman, CCIC Principal Mark Morgan, and CCS high school students Natalie Yao and Lindsey Brown. Also taking part in the event were incoming CCS Superintendent Scott Siegfriend, CCS board member Karen Fisher, CCIC executive director Sarah Grobbel, Cherry Creek High School Principal Ryan Silva, CCS Assistant Superintendent for Educational Support Services Sheila Graham, and CCS Planning Director Dave Strohfus.
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