Evergreen Country Day School opens new addition

Gym/performing arts center is a hit with students, staff, parents

Olivia Jewell Love
olove@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 12/15/21

Students and school staff alike are excited to be using the new gym/performing arts center Evergreen Country Day School opened this year.

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Evergreen Country Day School opens new addition

Gym/performing arts center is a hit with students, staff, parents

Posted

Students and school staff alike are excited to be using the new gym/performing arts center Evergreen Country Day School opened this year.

Breaking ground in spring 2020, the Hicks Family Athletic and Performing Arts Center was underway after donations from families at the school. The 10,000-square-foot addition has a full-size gymnasium, bleachers, a lobby for concessions, locker rooms, a stage and a retractable door behind the stage that leads onto a deck. When used as an auditorium, the center will accommodate an audience of 300.

The private school for students in kindergarten through eighth grade in El Rancho put the finishing touches on the gym in October and has been enjoying the space ever since.

Middle schoolers Riggs Gallaher, Max Hunter, Ethan Ramirez, Cohen Musser and Gabby Peonio had great things to say about the new space. 

Gabby, a volleyball team member, enjoyed the opportunity to crank up the volume during practice.

“Especially for volleyball, it’s nice because we can play loud music and stuff,” she said.

Riggs recalls the early days of the center’s construction.

“I remember when it looked like an airplane hangar,” he said. 

Before the gym space, on days where it was too cold to play outside, the students had recess and physical education classes in the cafeteria and the hallways. Donor Megan Hicks recounts tales about winter recesses from her daughter, Emma, a student at the school.

“In the winter in the past, the kids would be doing cartwheels down the hall,” Megan said. 

Megan and Kerry Hicks were excited to find an opportunity to collaborate with other families in the school and make a difference for the arts programs.

“What’s near and dear to us is the performance arts,” Kerry said.

Megan went on to explain the opportunities the new space has opened for sports in the school.

“Our school has never been able to have team sports, (so) it’s created these opportunities,” she said.

Athletic Director Jordi Betts has been waiting for a space like this in the 15 years he’s been at the school.

“It’s really been job changing for me,” he said. 

Betts noted how much he and the students enjoy being able to host sports games in their own gym.

“My favorite thing is we’ve never had a home game before — the excitement of having a home crowd,” Betts said.

Betts lit up when talking about the new space with the students.

“They’re almost as excited as I am,” he said, laughing.

Head of School Kabe ErkenBrack sees the impact the space has had on students in such a short time and thanks the families for their support of the project. 

“Execution had to do with the amazing families that stepped forward,” he said.

The new space is able to offer volleyball, basketball, physical education, hip hop and theater classes, choir and band performances, the weekly all-school town meeting and many more activities. Erkenbrack says that since the center was built, about 60% of the boys in the school joined the basketball team. 

When talking about the Hicks Family Athletic and Performing Arts Center, it seemed everyone at the school had been affected by the new space.

Max put it plainly: “I think everyone in the school has been involved in the gym.” 

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