education

Warren Tech South construction underway

Southern location to be located next to Dakota Ridge High School

Warren Tech groundbreaking on Oct. 20, 2020.
Video by Bob Wooley
Posted

A groundbreaking celebration for the new Warren Tech South campus took place Oct. 20 at a site on the Dakota Ridge High School property in Littleton. Masked attendees chatted and mixed, and the steady beep of heavy equipment filled the air, as speeches were given and ceremonial dirt was shoveled.

The new campus, estimated to cost $10 million, is part of Jeffco Public Schools’ Capital Improvement Program, and will be funded in part by the November 2018 voter-approved bond measure.

Eric Stout, Associate Principal of Warren Tech South, got the ball rolling with introductions and shout-outs to all of the people who made the day possible. The new campus will be the third for Warren Tech in Jefferson County, joining the Central campus in Lakewood and the North campus in Arvada. According to Stout, officials looked at several different sites before choosing this location.

“We knew we wanted something in the south area and by picking this particular site, not only is there easy access to Dakota Ridge and Chatfield High Schools, we also have the Columbine, Bear Creek and Green Mountain campuses just a short journey away,” he said.

Warren Tech looked at the programs they planned to offer at the new campus, and made sure they had outreach possibilities with industry partners in the area. Stout said the business partnerships in South Jeffco have been a huge untapped resource for a long time. The South campus will offer programs in Aircraft Maintenance Technology, Audio Production, Aviation Technology, Hospitality & Event Management, Live Sound & Event Production, Physical Therapy, and Video Production. While the school is slated to open in the fall of 2021, the Aircraft Maintenance program won’t begin until Aug. 2022 to give them time to meet all FAA requirements.

There is high demand for many Warren Tech programs, resulting in some waitlists, so the new campus will be a welcome addition to the district. Cameron Bell, Jeffco’s executive director of media relations . She added that the addition of a third campus will allow Warren Tech to serve more students and their interests.

“It will also diversify the skills students bring to Colorado’s workforce and provide students with advanced exposure and access to their field of study in higher education,” Bell said.

Warren Tech Principal, Heather Keeton stressed that it wasn’t just the school, but also the county’s voters that felt very strongly about wanting to open a south campus. She said the new location gives the school the ability to offer more programs district-wide, and that many of the programs they offer are directly driven by industry partners who have a unique insight into jobs that are in demand now, and those that should be in high demand in the future. According to Keeton, the Airline Maintenance Program is something that industry partners were strong advocates for.

“They came and said these are the programs that you really should get students ready for, because there’s gonna be so many jobs for them,” Keeton said. “So the aircraft industry is just really supportive and it’s just been an incredible journey.”

The soon-to-be three of Warren Tech campuses offer courses that can either be a stepping-stone to college, or lead to a certification that allows students to move into the workforce. Some students, according to Keeton, want to use the skills they learn at the Arvada and Lakewood Warren Tech locations to put themselves through college so they can avoid taking on the heavy debt that a traditional four-year degree can bring.

Any junior or senior attending a Jeffco high school or district charter school can apply to one of the Warren Tech campuses. There is an online application process that allows students to make a first and second choice of the programs they are interested in, and roughly 50 students are accepted into each program per semester. Those students split their time between Warren Tech and their home high school each school-day.

 

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