St. Vrain Valley School District starts construction on districtwide Innovation Center

Construction has started on the St. Vrain Valley's new Innovation Center, designed to give the district's students space to use what they're learning in school to create, prototype and solve real-world problems.

The $20 million building, at Quail Road and Martin Street in south Longmont, is expected to open in the fall of 2018 and expand the existing space from 6,000 square feet to 50,000 square feet.

"This is really a space where we're enhancing the learning that's happening in schools and making it authentic," said Patty Quinones, the Innovation Center's executive director. "It's really a space to be creative and innovative."

The new Innovation Center is part of the $260 million bond issue approved by voters in 2016.

Along with the Innovation Center, the district is building a new, 900-student pre-K-8 school in Erie and a new, 525-student elementary school in Frederick's Wyndham Hill neighborhood. Both are expected to open in the fall of 2018.

Multiple additions and improvements to existing schools also are included in the bond construction.

The district's current Innovation Center is housed at the Career Development Center on Sunset Street in space that was used by a building trades program.

The space was renovated with money from2012's four-year, $16.5 million Race to the Top grant, which supported the expansion of STEM education in the Skyline High School feeder system.

But district officials say the current space isn't big enough to accommodate everything they want to offer, especially now that the Innovation Center is available to students districtwide.

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Tiana Sandoval, right, talks with Instructor Thom Ingram during class Tuesday at the Innovation Center in Longmont. (Matthew Jonas / Times-Call Staff Photographer)