Summit High School’s $30 million renovation brings district into the future
Summit High School hums and gleams over by Farmer’s Korner in Breckenridge, a living factory sculpting minds and building futures. The past year’s near $30 million renovation has seen the school grow physically and academically, with more opportunities available to students than ever before.
Principal Drew Adkins gave a tour of SHS’s improvements Thursday morning while also informing on the school’s revamped career and technical education program, one that offers Summit students the tools and skills they need to thrive in Summit County and beyond.
Highlights of the tour included a look at brand new workshops for the school’s welding and bike tech programs.
Before the expansion, the welding program only offered an introductory course. But with new equipment, space and strong support from the community, students can now learn advanced techniques in the art of metalwork. The welding class now has three levels of advancement that offers students a portable skill that is often in high demand across the state and country as infrastructure building booms.
The school’s new bike tech program, run in conjunction with Project Bike Tech, trains students on how to repair and tune “the world’s most efficient vehicle” for jobs at bike shops around town, as well as certification in one of the country’s fastest-growing industries. From theory on the structure of the wheel to learning how to build and tune mountain bikes, the experiential learning program is the first of its kind in any high school in the country.
In the fall, the workshop converts to a ski tech program that trains students how to tune, maintain and fit skis and snowboards. The dual season skillset gives students the ability to work part-time jobs year-round, while giving the resort community a consistent, home-grown labor pool from which to draw during high season.
The school’s career and technical education program also connects students to internships and certification tracks that improve chances of successful vocational careers alongside their academics. The student-centered environment sees normally bored teenagers at school thoroughly engrossed in whatever they’re doing or learning, looking up with slightly irritated expressions when disrupted.
The physical expansion at the school encompasses over 30,000 square feet of new indoor space, including a bright, immaculate new indoor turf field that revolutionizes Summit High’s athletic programs and gives students the ability to train even when conditions would normally cancel practice. With the addition of a new, stocked room next to the indoor field, SHS Tigers now have a formidable new training complex.
The expansion also gives the school 21 new and updated classrooms, with a computer science lab and a new “STEAM” lab in the works that combines arts, sciences and tech. When opened, the STEAM lab workshop will be able to teach students about 3D printing, visual and graphic design, robotics and other cutting-edge technologies.
Other new improvements include a revamped commons area with a large, centered fireplace, LED lighting installed throughout the school, and a grab and go bar for quick breakfasts that is staffed by SHS culinary students learning how to run the small cafe. All of these renovations were funded by a 2016 bond measure passed by county taxpayers.
The new space is critical to SHS, which saw the writing on the wall years ago with a growing number of elementary school students who will eventually enroll at the high school. Before the expansion, the school had capacity for 1,000 students.
“We have 975 students right now,” Adkins said, “and we’re expecting to have 1,400 in five years.”
And while SHS continues to grow, Summit’s shortage of teachers and instructors means that even if the school wants to expand out its programs, there’s just not talent available to instruct the courses full-time. Adkins hopes that by building it, more skilled talent will come to SHS and give the incredibly engaged student population here even more skills and subjects to learn and build their futures on.
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