Coal Ridge boasts latest high-tech toys |

Coal Ridge boasts latest high-tech toys

Amanda Holt MillerWestern Garfield County Staff
Coal Ridge High School principal Jeanie Humble is ready to open the doors for the first day of school on Tuesday.

PEACH VALLEY – Shawn McElroy is the technology teacher at Coal Ridge High School.”We gave him the award for having the most expensive toys,” said principal Jeanie Humble as she laughed.McElroy’s classroom does not have a blackboard. His classroom is a modern marvel. There are stations with modern-looking industrial equipment and shiny black personal computers with flat-screen monitors. The signs hanging over each station state that they are for “Robotics” or “Computer-aided Drafting” or “Pneumatics” or “Structural Engineering.””We have a lot of heavy-duty equipment here,” McElroy said. “All of this came out of industry. This would be something you would see in the real world – all of this.”The new Coal Ridge High School will welcome its first students tomorrow, with freshmen and sophomores making up the first classes at the school.The idea behind Coal Ridge’s new integrated technology program is to prepare students for the working world and to give them an advantage.”We’re preparing kids to go to college,” Humble said. “Kids who go the engineering route will have such a head start with this program. My son is in college now. And the stuff we have at Coal Ridge is as good as what they have in universities.” McElroy said one of the first tasks he might hand over to his students is the construction of a hovercraft. Students will get the basics they’ll need – tools and maybe a leafblower. Then they’ll have to split up and become experts in particular subject matters. When they bring what they learned back to the group, they’ll decide on a design and a plan for construction.”This is so in-depth it could be a four-year course,” McElroy said.He and Humble both hope the program will advance to the point students can get college credit through Colorado Mountain College for the work they do at Coal Ridge. Humble also expects students will eventually be able to get certifications and licenses through CMC that will help to increase their income potentials even if they choose not to go on to college.McElroy was the technology teacher at Riverside Middle School for five years after he retired from the military, where he was a fighter pilot. He said he was very excited to come to the new school with all of its new technology, but he expected the teaching to be a little different.

“This is all so new and overwhelming,” McElroy said. “Nobody could know all of this technology in depth. I’m just here as a resource.”McElroy has 18 computer stations in the integrated technology classroom and 28 iMacs fitted with the most up-to-date software for the regular introduction to technology course he will teach. All students will be required to take a course like this, where they will learn to keyboard and to use spreadsheets, word processing and power point.Humble said the rest of the school is fitted with the best technology as well. Every classroom has a digital projector built into the ceiling. The arts, labs, gyms and music rooms are fitted with some of the newest and best technology.”We’re just really proud of what we’re able to offer,” Humble said. “There are a lot of opportunities for the students in the (Garfield Re-2) district that they never had before.”

Square footage: 114,248Acres: About 40Total cost: $18,650,000Construction only cost: $13,125,000Furnishings and equipment cost: $2,100,000Extra square footage because of low construction charges: 80,000Design company: Fanney & Howey of OhioConstruction company: Gamma Construction of DenverGround broken: March 2004Finished: June 2005Digital projectors: 23Security cameras: 33Classrooms: 12 standard (860 square foot), 22 teaching stations (including labs, gyms and art rooms)Parking spaces: 325Electric locks: 6Standard lockers: 250Athletic Lockers: 860Capacity in commons area: 578Capacity in gym: 989Teachers: 17Counselors: 1Activity Directors: 1Principals: 1Support staff (secretary, food personnel, maintenance, custodians, library specialist): 15Students: About 240Contact Amanda Holt Miller at 625-3245 ext.

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