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Education Park coming to Judge Orr and Elbert roads

The Pikes Peak Board of Cooperative Educational Services is building a new education park on an 87-acre site at the intersection of Judge Orr and Elbert roads.

The Pikes Peak BOCES is an educational organization founded in 1968 that serves school districts in the Pikes Peak region. According to its website, the organization “is an invaluable asset to local school districts in finding ways to best use educational dollars effectively without diminishing special education, federal programs and other programs vital to the education of our young people.”

The Pikes Peak BOCES member districts include Big Sandy 100-J, Calhan RJ-1, Edison 54-JT, Elbert 200, Ellicott 22, Hanover 28, Miami Yoder 60-JT and Peyton 24-JT.

El Paso County Colorado District 49 is considered an associate district along with nine other school districts in El Paso County, Teller County and Pueblo.

A grassy field with a fence in the background
The Pikes Peak Board of Cooperative Education Services is planning to build an education park on an 87-acre site at the corner of Judge Orr and Elbert roads. There is currently no timeline on the project.

The Pikes Peak BOCES Education Park will serve the eight member districts.

According to the education park website, https://ppboces-educationpark.org, “Currently, the eight districts offer a wide range of career-connected learning programs, from cyber security to welding, from woodworking to criminal justice training. Because of the relatively small size of all eight districts, coupled with the difficulty of hiring trained teachers in rural Colorado, the eight districts are collaborating to build a single hub for career-connected learning.” The website also states that the education park will offer vocational and technical courses and provide “internships, apprentices and industry certifications.”

The Pikes Peak Education Park will also house the School of Excellence, part of Pikes Peak BOCES. The School of Excellence serves students with diverse social, emotional and behavioral needs, and is currently located in Colorado Springs.

As an associate member, Falcon School District 49 is eligible to send students to the education park; however, at this time, it is unclear as to what extent D 49 will participate. David Nancarrow, communications director for D 49, said it is too early in the process to determine how D 49 will utilize the education park. He said there has been no discussions on the education park.

Regarding course offerings, Pat Bershinsky, executive director of Pikes Peak BOCES, said, “It is going be a constant process of monitoring. It can change from year to year.”

Bershinsky said the first year will include a 911 training center, a construction program and a cyber security system program. He said students will attend the new facility for a half day and spend the other half of the day in academic classes at their individual school.

Funding the education park will be accomplished by establishing a nonprofit organization for the purpose of applying for grants, Bershinsky said.

He said the property for the education park was purchased with proceeds from the sale of an unused Calhan school building. At this time there is no projected completion date for the education park, Bershinsky said.

Dan Slothower, the Calhan superintendent, was quoted on the education park website: “Career technical training is an alternative to college, but it’s also an alternative path to college, for students to go to work for a few years, experience the real world, and settle on what they want to do — and what they need to learn from a college experience.”

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