As part of the voter-approved $298 bond passed in 2018, Littleton Public Schools will be renovating the recently purchased property on the corner of Broadway and Littleton Boulevard across the street from Littleton High School as the district’s new Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Innovation Center.
During the 2020–2021 school year, the project will go through the design process with construction scheduled to begin in September 2021. Six LPS students, representing Arapahoe, Heritage, Littleton, and Options high schools, were selected by their respective principals. The students’ backgrounds provide a sampling of some of the pathways that will be offered by LPS’s CTE programming: teacher cadet, auto tech, medical, and fire science. Dr. Mary Shay, the district’s director of innovation, equity, and relevance told the students in an introductory meeting, “Your voice is so important in this process. You bring a perspective that is going to be important for these architects to hear.”
The student ambassadors will participate in the interview and selection process for the architectural firm that will design the spaces for each career pathway; the students will collaborate to generate a batch interview questions, and each will have a vote towards which firm is selected. At their informational meeting, students were advised to consider what’s important to them as a student: what is currently available to facilitate learning that they’d like to see in the new CTE space, and what’s currently missing that they’d like to be able to incorporate in the design? The following are the questions the student ambassadors compiled for the interviews:
How do you ensure that student voices are heard throughout the design process?
How is the design process different when designing a CTE versus a traditional school?
What has been your firm’s most successful student engagement experience in a past project?
How will your firm design a space that accommodates both in-person and virtual learning?
How do you foresee COVID-19 protocols/precautions impacting design in the future?
How will you ensure the design for this space prepares students for a collegiate career versus a normal high school campus? What about design to prepare students to enter the workforce directly after graduation?
Student ambassadors will also have input in the design process throughout the school year, and their work on the project will be overseen by an LPS staff member at the student’s school and Mary Shay, the district’s director of innovation, equity, and relevance.
Liz Munn, senior project manager for Jacobs, the district’s bond management firm, said, “If we are going to design and build a new educational space for LPS students, we need to put students at the center of the process. This is the first project we’re doing with student involvement right out of the gate.” Jacobs is committed to finding partners on this project who are willing and enthusiastic about engaging with the student ambassadors.