After touring two potential alternate learning sites earlier this week, the Montrose County School District announced Centennial Middle School staff will educate students at the Montrose Pavilion Thursday.
The Pavilion was one of two sites district and CtMS leadership considered after the City of Montrose and Montrose County offered the locations for educational purposes. The other site was the Montrose County Event Center.
Through a partnership with the City of Montrose, the district will collaborate to continue in-person instruction at the Pavilion for CtMS students who were displaced following the discovery of asbestos containing material in areas of the campus, according to Thursday’s press release.
“Conference and auditorium space at the Pavilion will be used as learning spaces for CtMS seventh and eighth grade students throughout the abatement period, possibly through the end of the school year, starting Monday, March 15,” the press release reads.
The timeline for the asbestos abatement is unclear. While the abatement at the CtMS campus may be finished before May 26, the last day of school, the city offered the district use of the Pavilion for the next three months. The district will have use of the space free of charge in March and April, and at a discounted rate in May, according to the press release.
Montrose City Manager Bill Bell shared how supporting the school district in its efforts to educate students given the circumstances was a “no brainer.”
“The schools have had to deal with COVID restrictions, online learning, and chaotic activity schedules for a year,” Bell said. “The least we could do was allow them to use our Pavilion Event Center building for an ad hoc school.”
Bell noted how the facility features various rooms to accommodate the needs of staff and students and how the value of this community partnership.
“The Pavilion is actually set up really well for education with classroom and auditorium space, modern technology, outdoor courtyard and open space, and kitchen facilities,” he said. “I am so proud of the outstanding and mutually supportive relationship that exists between the city and our school district here in Montrose.”
Not all students from CtMS will report for in-person instruction at the Pavilion as the CtMS campus can still be used for instructional purposes in areas that were unaffected by asbestos. CtMS’ north building was cleared for use by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s (CDPHE) Air Quality Division, according to the press release. Sixth graders will use those classrooms for learning. CDPHE also cleared classroom space at Olathe Middle/High School, allowing all OMHS students to return 100% in-person in Olathe March 15.
CtMS students enrolled for in-person hybrid learning will transition to 100% in-person learning and instruction Monday, March 15, according to the district. Centennial will wrap up its cohort instruction plan with each student cohort attending student in two-day segments for three days next week.
Staff will have the opportunity to set up their classrooms at the Pavilion on Thursday, March 11, which is a scheduled CtMS professional development day for staff. Friday, March 12 the district is closed. The school’s administration is working with teachers to creatively adapt course instruction for the new learning spaces.
“We are extremely grateful to the City of Montrose,” CtMS Principal Joe Simo said. “While this year has been tough, our students and staff continue to rise above the obstacles. Centennial Middle School teachers are the most creative and passionate in the world and they are excited to take on this new challenge of facilitating learning in an alternative space.”
MCSD Superintendent Carrie Stephenson expressed her appreciation for the support of the Montrose community throughout the course of the pandemic and academic school years.
“Throughout this challenging school year, our district has been ahead of the game thanks to our strong community partnerships, whether it be remote learning, our hybrid model, access to technologies, and all the different ways various organizations depend upon each other for the good of our community.
“While it may be difficult leading a school district during a global pandemic, you couldn’t find a better community to do it than Montrose,” Stephenson added. “We work together, we share resources, and we look out for one another. Our children and families are more successful because we help each other through adversity and challenges.”