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Colorado district buys building that houses charter school

Feb. 12, 2020
Acquiring Justice High School in Lafayette, Colo., makes it possible for the facility to be renovated.

The Boulder Valley (Colo.) school board has voted to buy the building that houses a charter school and provide a $1 million match so it can receive a competitive state grant to address critical safety and space issues.

The Boulder Daily Camera reports that Justice High School, an alternative school for at-risk students, holds classes in a 41-year-old building in Lafayette, Colo., that was designed as a child care center. The charter school has about 80 students.

The school building needs more than $2 million worth of work, according to a facility master plan

Justice High School won approval last year for a state grant to renovate its building.

The school board has agreed to pay the remainder of the building's loan, about $1 million, and provide the $1.1 million match required for the grant. The money for both will come from the district's capital reserve fund.

"The district has been really great with us," says Justice High founder and principal T.J. Cole. "They're trying to help support us and bring some equity and modernize our facilities."

Buying the property secures the district's investment and enables Boulder Valley to bring Justice High up to the standard of other schools.

Now, Justice High's main building has six classrooms (one doubles as a library), a GED room, a small community room and a space that serves as a combination weight room, lunchroom, art room and music room.

A second adjoining building will be used to increase the learning space.

Planned work includes a new fire alarm system, a new security system with new doors and card readers, a new energy efficient mechanical system, plumbing fixture replacements and a new electrical service.

Plans also call for converting two classrooms into a commons area with a lunchroom, demolishing a wall to create a safe connection between the east and west sides of the building, and adding four classrooms and a flex classroom.

As part of the agreement, the district will lease the building back to Justice High at no cost. In exchange, Justice agrees to pay all costs for the building's operation and maintenance, contracting with the district for some services.

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