by Lane Roberts
Exciting things are happening in the new City of Castle Pines North (CPN).
The development of a brand new school, the City’s first permanent church building, and a long-awaited community park are now moving forward at a rapid pace. So quickly, in fact, it is causing a few “growing pains” for the new city.
With so many stakeholders involved in this major development, Mayor Maureen Shul organized a meeting on May 14. Included in the meeting were representatives from the CPN Metro District, the Castle Pines Parks Authority, HF Holdings, LLC, developer of the parcel, HOA1, American Academy, God’s Grace Community Church, the City of Castle Pines North and CH2M Hill.
“It is so important that all of the parties involved in this development communicate on a regular basis and know where others are in the process,” said Mayor Shul. Shul waited to coordinate this meeting until after three new board members were seated on the Metro District board in the May 6 election.
Lagae Ranch, the 240-acre parcel located behind King Soopers and adjacent to HOA1, is within the boundaries of City of CPN. As a result of the City Council vote on May 20, land use entitlement process is no longer governed by Douglas County. Basically, the City now has the responsibility for all land use, zoning and planning.
In April, the City Council voted to appoint CH2M Hill as the interim planner for the new city.
Plans for the Lagae Ranch development, including the re-zoning of the parcel, are currently under review. CH2M Hill has been working on the Lagae Ranch development exploring transportation, environmental, drainage, and other planning aspects of the parcel.
Why is this Development Moving so Quickly?
American Academy, a K-8 Douglas County Charter School has a lease that runs out in 2009. The school, which is home to more than 550 children, has been temporarily located in Lone Tree since 2005.
Founded by CPN families, American Academy originally intended to call CPN home. The school’s charter, which was presented to the Douglas County School District in 2004, lists CPN as the school’s permanent home.
Developer Chris Fellows, with HF Holdings, LLC, donated a parcel of land to the school. Now, American Academy is working quickly to build a new 83,000 square foot facility on Lagae Ranch.
“We are very sympathetic and concerned about American Academy’s schedule and we are making extraordinary accommodations to help the school,” said Fellows. “They would like to move dirt in July and have a very aggressive schedule but we think it is achievable.”
Once completed, the school will be the first K-8 school in CPN and will have space for more than 700 students. The new school will include two stories on the west side of the building and a walk-out basement on the east side. The school will feature four science labs in keeping with their award winning STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program. American Academy received the John Irwin Award of Excellence for academic achievement for the past two years.
The school hopes to help relieve some of the current overcrowding issues at other CPN neighborhood schools. The American Academy Board of Directors recently modified their enrollment policy to give more priority in the lottery to residents of CPN. Enrollment in a Douglas County Charter School is determined by using a lottery system.
More information about American Academy can be found at www.americanacademyk8.org. (click on “welcome home”)
Parks Authority Moves Forward with Plans
During the meeting, representatives from the Castle Pines Parks Authority also announced plans for a new park are underway at Lagae Ranch.
The new park will be located next to American Academy and directly behind homes in HOA1. HOA1 donated a portion of land to the park development.
“We are working to get some preliminary designs created so that we can be ready to move forward this summer,” said Castle Pines Parks Authority President Sandy Colling. According to Colling, the Parks Authority hopes to work with the school and church to find a cost effective way to grade all of the parcels at once.
The new Lagae Park will be a three-phase project. The final plans are not yet complete, but the Parks Authority anticipates that the park could feature a soccer field and several play structures.
“We’ve been waiting how many years for this meeting?,” said Colling. “This is so exciting. We are finally going to get to build a new park for our city.”
New Church Planned for CPN
Just north of the Lagae Park will be CPN’s first permanent church building. God’s Grace Community Church is currently coordinating plans for a 6,000-8,500 square foot facility on the six acre parcel, with room for expansion. The church is currently working on grading and platting issues. The church hopes to coordinate grading of the parcel with American Academy and the Parks Authority.
God’s Grace Community Church is currently located in a temporary facility in Lone Tree. More information about the church can be found at www.godsgracecc.com.
According to Chris Fellows, the preliminary and final plan for the Lagae development should be ready to present to the City in mid-June.
“This is a six stage construction process,” said Fellows. “The first priority is to get this school in and we are working with CH2M Hill to move this forward.”
American Academy hopes to present plans to the City in June. “We are so grateful to Chris Fellows and to all of you for helping our school,” said American Academy Board President and CPN resident Erin Kane. “Without it, our children would have no place to go.”
American Academy plans to build an 83,000 square foot school on Lagae Ranch in CPN. The K-8 Charter School will be the first middle school in CPN and will have more than 700 students making it the largest Charter School in Douglas County. The school hopes to break ground this summer and open in August, 2009. (design provided by American Academy)