Volume No. 16 Issue No. 11 November 2019  

  D 49 trades school grand opening
  By Lindsey Harrison

     On Oct. 10, the El Paso County Colorado School District 49 staff, along with members of the Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs and about 50 students from Patriot High School, attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Falcon Legacy Campus. The ceremony marked the official opening of the new Trades Building, which will expand programming opportunities for students interested in the Careers in Construction Pathway.
   The facility was funded in part by a $500,000 grant from the Falcon Community Builders for Classrooms organization and received strong support from the HBA.
   George Hess, founder of Vantage Homes and chairman of Careers in Colorado Construction, a program started by the HBA, said FCBC funded the project, driven by the HBA and actualized with the help of Ken Starkey from Wood Stone Construction.
   “Today, Careers in Colorado Construction has about 1,000 kids going to construction programs every day,” Hess said. “D 49 was the second district to do that and we are now represented in more than 20 schools across the state of Colorado. We appreciate that and appreciate the success you are all having.”
   David Nancarrow, director of communications, said the beginning-level construction classes have nine students enrolled this year, while 28 students are enrolled in the woodworking classes. “The main excitement of getting this building is for more students to participate in construction and expand the trades to include electric, HVAC and anything else needed to create a home or building,” he said.
   Additionally, Nancarrow said equipment for the program thus far has been provided by the district’s career and technical education department, but donations from the community are always welcome.
   Brett Ridgway, chief business officer for D 49, said, “No other district has this. FCBC, with this project, has now contributed over $7 million to the capital needs of District 49; and it has been a completely voluntary basis. They have not had any requirement, legal or otherwise, to do so; and they are great members of our community.”
   Jim Baumann, construction teacher at PHS, said he feels honored to have the new facility and plans to get his students working on a storage shed, contracted from one of the Board of Education members, right after fall break.
   “This facility was really built for the kids,” Hess said.
(From left to right) Pedro Almeida, D 49 chief operations officer; Ken Starkey from Wood Stone Construction; George Hess with the Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs; John Graham, vice president of the D 49 Board of Education; Christina Vidovich, iConnect Zone operations administrator; Jim Baumann, Patriot High School construction teacher; Steve Gard, PHS principal; and Brett Ridgway, D 49 chief business officer, cut the ribbon at the grand opening of the Trades Building on the Falcon Legacy Campus.
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