District leaders for Littleton Public Schools broke ground May 9 on a new elementary school that will replace Ralph Moody Elementary and open its doors fall 2023.
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The new school, called Little Raven, will consolidate the students and staff of Ralph Moody and East Elementary School and could serve more than 600 students, according to district spokesperson Diane Leiker.
Construction is expected to begin this summer.
The groundbreaking comes just more than a year after the district's board of education voted to close both schools, citing declining enrollment rates due to families struggling with the city's high housing costs.
By consolidating the communities of Moody and East, LPS leaders believe they will be able to provide more comprehensive service and relieve staffing strain.
"We couldn't have done this without a board of education who saw a different vision for the future of LPS and understood that at some point in time you have to start reinvesting in the infrastructure of our school district," Superintendent Brian Ewert said.
The site, located at Windermere Street and Weaver Avenue, may also be a neighborhood that sees an increase in higher-density housing in the years to come, according to past conversations board members have had with city officials. It could lead to a renewal in enrollment and, with that, more money for district resources.
The new school, expected to cost between $35 million and $38 million, will be paid for with money raised through a district bond effort that voters approved in November 2018.
Measure 4A allowed LPS to raise $298 million for a slew of projects including new construction for aging schools with new construction, continued repair and upkeep of others and the creation of a career and technical education and innovation center.
"Without a board of education and a community that supports forward thinking and future thinking for LPS, this would not have happened," Ewert said.
School board President Robert Reichardt thanked voters who approved Measure 4A and said "voters showing their faith in us and our ability to manage their money well," proved imperative to Little Raven's creation.
"The main message I want to convey is how grateful I am to members of our community," Reichardt said.
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