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American Academy Breaks Ground in CPN

Construction is finally underway for American Academy’s new 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 plans to open September 7, 2009. (design provided by American Academy)

American Academy held its official ground breaking ceremony – pictured from the left: Dave Romero, Denese Gardner, Chad King, Adil Khan, Sally Wagner, Roberta Harrell, Erin Kane, Maureen Shul, Jackie Santos and Darwin Horan. (photos courtesy of Joel Gardner)

by Lane Roberts

Crowded hallways, overstuffed classrooms and a concrete parking lot for a play ground are soon to be a thing of the past for one top-ranked Douglas County Charter School. The new 83,000 square foot facility is finally underway in CPN.

American Academy Awarded Top Bond Rating in the U.S. – School Moves Forward with Construction

Overly anxious American Academy students started shoveling dirt on the Lagae Ranch parcel following the official ground breaking ceremony for the new charter school held in late September.

For the past four years, American Academy has been located in a strip mall featuring crowded hallways, overstuffed classrooms and a concrete play ground lot for more than 550 students. Now, the new 83,000 square foot facility is finally underway in Castle Pines North (CPN.)

Throughout the building process the school has been faced with challenges, but the current economy has resulted in unexpected obstacles.

“Infrastructure construction is now our responsibility,” said Erin Kane, American Academy founding board president and CPN resident. “The developer is not in a position to build infrastructure given the present state of the housing market and the unlikelihood of selling any lots any time soon.” HF Holdings developer Chris Fellows donated a six-acre parcel on Lagae Ranch to the school. “We are grateful that he [Fellows] has moved forward with the final plat, for our sake, despite the dim economic prospects.”

Now, the school is faced with the challenge of finding funds to finance the roads, pipelines and other necessary construction costs required to build the infrastructure. After an intensive loan process completed during a nation-wide credit crisis, the school has found funding.

“Fitch, one of the three credit rating agencies, released a rating for American Academy after weeks of research, interviews, and a site visit,” Kane said. “Fitch rated American Academy a BBB+ and we are the only charter school in the entire country – in the entire U.S. – to receive a BBB+ rating!” Douglas County Charter Schools are charged with the task of funding their own buildings and no local taxpayer funds will be used for the new school.

Founded in 2005 by several local CPN families, the new building will be home to more than 700 children. The public K-8 charter school, once completed, the will be the first middle school in CPN and the largest charter school in Douglas County. The new school will include two stories on the west side of the building and a walk-out basement on the east side. The facility will feature four science labs in keeping with their award winning STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program.

The school hopes to help relieve some of the current overcrowding issues at other CPN neighborhood schools and plans to open September 7, 2009. Enrollment is held through a lottery system and CPN families are given more weight in the lottery process. The deadline for enrollment applications is January 31, 2009. The lottery will be held February 1, 2009. More information about American Academy can be found at



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