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School District 27J is putting hundreds of people to work this summer in support of the 2015 School Construction Bond passed by voters. On June 13, the District held its own official count day to assess the number of skilled construction workers working, at one time, at several 27J school sites. 27J currently has nine active construction sites at new and existing schools and school district owned buildings.
When the count was conducted, a total of 579 workers were on a School District 27J job. When you add the 579 active construction workers to 27J’s regular employee count of 1,500 full-time employees and 200 part-time employees (coaches and substitute teachers) that adds up to 2,279 employees.
According to Brighton Economic Development, the top five City of Brighton employers are: 1. Adams County Government- 1,923; 2. School District 27J –1,860; 3. Vestas – 1,300; 4. Platte Valley Medical Center-626; 5. City of Brighton – 502. With the addition of the 27J construction contractors, that would move School District 27J into the top spot for employment this summer.
This number shows that, due to voter approval of the 2015 Bond, 27J is putting people to work building schools and renovating and upgrading existing buildings. “We have a great team of contractors, engineers, architects and steel workers in place. It is because of this team of dedicated professionals that summer construction projects are moving along on schedule and at times, ahead of schedule,” said School District 27J Superintendent, Dr. Chris Fiedler.
“Especially because many of the people working on these projects are 27J residents and alumni, many of whom have students attending our schools,” Fiedler said. “As we are building new schools, we are also reinvesting in our existing, historic buildings so that they will serve generations to come. Thank you 27J voters!””
School construction sites are at: Vikan Middle School, Brighton High School, Brighton Heritage Academy, South Elementary School, Overland Trail Middle School, 27J Indoor Pool building and the Educational Service Center.
New school construction sites are at Riverdale Ridge High School at 136th Avenue and Yosemite Street in Thornton set to open fall 2018, and the newest school to be constructed, Reunion Elementary School in Commerce City which will open in August.
A number of Brighton High School (BHS) alumni are working to build the District’s newest high school. Luis Covarrubias, a construction site superintendent for Saunders Construction, is on the job site at Riverdale Ridge High School every day. Covarrubias is a 2008 BHS graduate and his job is to oversee day-to-day construction for the new high school.
“It’s really satisfying to see in the course of two years of construction about 500-plus people, each one with a certain specific task and skilled trade to construct a building,” said Covarrubias.
Three other Brighton High alumni David Mata, Troy Hernandez and Francisco Villalobos have helped build the new high school. Hernandez is a survey superintendent for Saunders Construction, and Mata is a carpenter for Saunders. Villalobos is a superintendent for LMS Drilling, a local company that operated the drills to put in the school’s foundation piers.
At the Reunion Elementary School construction site, Construction Superintendent Ed Nation with FCI Constructors lives locally. Both his sons attended 27J schools. One son graduated from Brighton High School and the other is an Eagle Ridge Academy graduate. “I have been wanting to build a 27J school project starting the day we moved into the District,” said Nation. “I enjoy the process of construction and growth and looked forward to the opportunity to help the school district my kids grew up in. Schools are special projects because I get the opportunity to participate in the building of facilities that help mold our future leaders.”
Nation said 27J’s newest school will be turned over to the School District on June 30. “It has been a great project,” he said. “It is how the district, design, and construction teams work together that has made this project so successful.”
The District also employs workers at short-term projects including: parking lot replacements, tennis court resurfacing at Brighton High and Prairie View High, roofing replacements at five schools, exterior caulking and masonry waterproofing projects.
In other school construction news, Saunders Construction Company, that is building Riverdale Ridge High School is partnering with the School District to offer educational opportunities to students. In May, a group of Brighton High School engineering students toured the construction site and received classroom instruction.
The purpose of the visit was to expose students to the various career opportunities in the construction industry. Saunders Construction Project Engineer Jonny Hendricks took students on a virtual tour with a computer software program being used to design the high school.
“We’re using Autodesk Navisworks to combine 3D virtual models generated by the design team and subcontractors,” Hendricks said. “We can give everyone on site a set of coordinates to use as the building reference.” Hendricks said this software allows construction crews to virtually view how spaces will look when they are built in the field. Saunders and School District 27J are looking to expand this program for the next school year to Prairie View High students and to 27J middle school students.