The Park Street Campus, located at 56th and Galena, will soon be built out to house a middle school on a shared campus with Inspire Elementary. On September 12, Sam Miller, director of construction services for DPS, confirmed that DPS will be building an additional 18 classrooms designed for middle school use on the campus, to be completed by fall 2020. DPS had already planned to temporarily site the first 6th grade class of the proposed middle school at Inspire in fall 2019, but the more permanent location had not been previously announced.
Liz Mendez, director of operations for DPS, confirmed the construction plans, but she noted that the seats at the Park Street campus could be used for the new middle school or could be occupied by DSST: Conservatory Green middle school if High Tech’s K-8 proposal is selected. According to Mendez, DSST: Conservatory Green has been contacted and was open to the prospect of relocating its 450-seat middle school to the Park Street campus if the facilities are comparable to the High Tech facility.
The news came as a surprise to the Inspire Elementary community, who have been under the impression that the beautiful new campus was to be theirs alone, with the option of later extending to a middle school under the same administration. Inspire PTO President Robyn Broghammer wrote in a post on Facebook, “The issue is DPS leadership and their lack of transparency and misinformation.”
In response, DPS sent a letter to the Inspire community noting that the intent has always been for Park Street to be a shared campus, writing, “When the Denver Board of Education voted to place Inspire at the Park Street campus in 2016, the resolution stated that sharing a campus would be part of the plan.” The referenced 2016 resolution clearly states that Inspire’s siting on the Park Street Campus was contingent on the campus being available to be shared, noting, “This condition is material to the approval of the placement and is necessary for the School’s service to be in the best interest of pupils, the district, and the community.”
Broghammer and other parents are now organizing an effort to slow down or influence the middle school search process. “We need to try to halt or extend the application process that is due on October 26, 2018 to allow for sufficient time to find the right middle school in the right location,” wrote Broghammer in a letter to Inspire families. “Just as important, we need to fight for our school to not become a shared campus.”
According to Broghammer and other parents, Inspire was discouraged by DPS from submitting a letter of intent to the district to expand to a middle school on that campus. It appears unlikely that Inspire will attempt to submit an application at this late date, as applications are due at the end of October.
Currently, three applicants have submitted letters of intent to open a middle school in the Greater Park Hill/Stapleton (GPHS) zone: the Denver Green School, the Beacon School and High Tech, which proposed to open an ECE-8. The proposed middle school is slated to serve 500-600 students, relieving enrollment pressures in the zone. DPS plans to site another large school north of 56th, but that property is not yet owned by DPS and cannot be developed into a school for perhaps four more years.
Meetings About New Middle School
DPS-Hosted Town Halls, 5:30 – 7pm
Monday, Oct. 1, Northfield High School
Tuesday, Oct. 2, Central Park Rec Center
Wednesday, Oct. 3, Park Hill Elementary
SUN Monthly Meeting
Tuesday, Oct. 16, Central Park Rec Center