Animas High School recently popped up on our campus, leaving students wondering what it is and where it came from.
The opening of the Animas campus is Jan. 3, 2023 and an official announcement will be sent out soon from President Tom Stritikus, Jenni Trujillo, Dean of Education at Fort Lewis College, said.
Animas High School is a public charter school that focuses on early college endeavors and has been in the making for approximately 12 years, Trujillo said.
“I know that the students have been anxious to know what's going on,” she said.
Trujillo has been the point person between the high school and FLC, and the relationship is a collocation, which means that the two schools are separate institutions but share the same location, Trujillo said.
“For access reasons, people start to think about college earlier and earlier,” she said. “This way people can see if college is for them, if Fort Lewis is for them.”
The purpose of Animas High School is to provide early exposure to a new and exciting way of preparing for college, to deepen learning experiences and embrace higher education, Trujillo said.
The first thing for FLC students to know is that they did not pay for the high school, she said.
In 2020, Animas High School was given $13.7 million from the Colorado Department of Education through a very competitive grant for the construction of the school, said Trujillo.
FLC students have not paid out of pocket money, nor will they, she said.
Animas High School will have their own parking lot, and a different start time then FLC, so the congestion concern on the front hill and parking difficulties should not be an issue, Trujiilo said.
Animas High School will also have their own parking lot, so there shouldn’t be an impact on parking here around campus, she said.
The new high school will also be a supervised and closed campus, meaning students are not allowed to leave for lunch or allowed to explore the campus, Trujillo said.
“Anything that happens will be a supervised coordinated endeavor,” she said.
The students at Animas High School have a very experiential approach to learning, PE for example, in which they do the skysteps with their teacher, Trujillo said.
Animas High School is collocated, so it is not a part of FLC and the relationship is intended to be beneficial to both schools, she said.
“They have all kinds of very innovative ways that they approach learning that will have a good influence on FLC,” Trujillo said.
“I know students are wondering why there is a high school being built during a housing crisis,” she said.
There will be additional housing for FLC students, but it's going to be years in the making since those construction projects require capital and have to be approved by the state of Colorado, Trujilo said.
Trujillo said that they are very committed to building more housing for FLC, and that the construction of the high school during the housing crisis had more to do with the timing of the two projects, she said.