2024 Denver Public Schools bond: Which projects are recommended to be included in $975 million ask?

A skyline of Denver, Co is seen through a wire fence in the foregound and a track and field in the middleground.
A $975 million bond ask from Denver Public Schools would include $33 million for athletic facilities upgrades. (Melanie Asmar/Chalkbeat)

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Denver Public Schools will likely ask voters to approve a record-setting $975 million bond this fall that would install air conditioning in 29 Denver schools, revamp secondary school athletic fields and theater spaces, and more.

The school board is expected to vote in August on whether to put the bond question on the November ballot. Denver voters previously approved bonds in 2020, 2016, 2012, and 2008.

A committee of 72 parents, educators, and students spent five months coming up with recommendations for which projects would be funded by the bond dollars. The committee chairs presented the recommendations to the school board last week.

The recommendations include:

  • $240 million to install air conditioning at the 29 Denver schools that don’t have it. Twenty of the schools would receive “climate conscious” electric heating and cooling systems. The committee also recommended a review of all Denver school buildings with partial air conditioning, meaning they might have air conditioning in the administration offices but not the classrooms or vice versa.

The 29 schools that would get air conditioning are:

Asbury Elementary School

Bradley International School

Brown Elementary School

Bryant-Webster Dual Language School

Cory Elementary School

Denver Language School - Gilpin Campus

Denver Language School - Whiteman Campus

Doull Elementary School

Edison Elementary School

Ellis Elementary School

Godsman Elementary School

Goldrick Elementary School

Gust Elementary School

Hamilton Middle School

Johnson Elementary School

Lincoln Elementary School

McMeen Elementary School

Montclair School of Academics and Enrichment

Park Hill Elementary School

Robert F. Smith STEAM Academy

Skinner Middle School

Slavens School

Steck Elementary School

Stephen Knight Center for Early Education

Teller Elementary School

Traylor Elementary School

University Park Elementary School

University Prep - Arapahoe St.

University Prep - Steele St.

  • $27 million for safety upgrades. This would include purchasing weapons detection and crisis communications systems, and adding secure vestibules to 17 schools. A secure vestibule is a controlled entryway with a desk and a transaction window that allows school staff to screen visitors before letting them into the main part of the school.

The 17 schools that would get secure vestibules are:

Academy of Urban Learning

Bruce Randolph School

Cole campus (Cole Arts and Sciences Academy and DSST: Cole)

Contemporary Learning Academy

DC 21

Farrell B. Howell ECE-8

Florida Pitt Waller K-8

George Washington High School

Grant Ranch ECE-8

Hamilton Middle School

Kepner Beacon Middle School

Lake Middle School

Lincoln High School

Manual High School

Maxwell Elementary School

North High School

University Prep

  • $43 million for middle and high school stage upgrades, theater seating, and more. It would include $18 million to build a new auditorium on the Paul Sandoval Campus that includes Northfield High School and DSST: Conservatory Green.

The schools getting the theater and stage upgrades would be:

Bruce Randolph School

George Washington High School

Hamilton Middle School

John F. Kennedy High School

Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy

Lake Middle School

Manual High School

McGlone Academy

Morey Middle School

South High School

West High School

  • $33 million for athletic facilities upgrades, including installing artificial turf, updating high school weight rooms, replacing scoreboards, and adding lighting to athletic fields.

This work would happen in 14 locations:

Abraham Lincoln High School

All City Stadium

Bruce Randolph School

East High School

Evie Dennis Stadium

George Washington High School

John F. Kennedy High School

Manual High School

North High School

Paul Sandoval Campus

Regis Groff Campus

South High School

Thomas Jefferson High School

West High School

  • $51 million for career and technical education and STEAM spaces. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art, and math, and $3 million would pay for “equipment for elementary and middle school experiences across all regions of the district,” according to a presentation. The rest of the money would build classrooms and laboratories on three secondary campuses — in the far northeast, southwest, and southeast — for career and technical programs such as aerospace engineering, broadcasting, and plant science.
  • $124 million for new school construction and new school buses. This would include building a new elementary school in the far northeast Gateway neighborhood and expanding another new campus near the airport to add middle school grades. It would also include nearly $3 million “to support school program movement, consolidation, closure, and other capacity needs from 2025 - 2028,” the presentation says. Enrollment in DPS is expected to decline, and the school board is preparing for school closures and consolidations. But some neighborhoods in the far northeast are growing, hence the funding to build new schools there.
  • $100 million for upgrades to existing school buildings. This would include building a new school-based health clinic on the Paul Sandoval Campus and upgrading existing clinics. It would also include upgrading restrooms, cafeterias, and outdoor classrooms.
  • $54 million for technology. This would include $35.5 million for student Chromebooks, hotspots that allow students to access the internet at home, and more.
  • $301 million for critical maintenance at 154 buildings, including mechanical, electrical, and plumbing upgrades, as well as general renovations.

Melanie Asmar is the bureau chief for Chalkbeat Colorado. Contact Melanie at masmar@chalkbeat.org.

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