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Students of a 100-year-old school will once again fill the halls of the empty schoolhouse on Dad Clark Drive in Highlands Ranch.
Mile High Academy, a Christian school serving preschool through high school students, will open its doors in August at 1733 Dad Clark Drive for the 2015-2016 school year.
“This location has worked well so far, but we need to move on,” marketing director Agape Hammond said of the school at 711 E. Yale Ave., Denver. “The Highlands Ranch area itself is growing. Anything we can grow with is great.”
Established in 1913, the school has been on Yale Avenue since 1949. But staff — some who have taught there for 40 years — and students are excited for the move.
“It has been in discussion for about 20 years,” said Principal Toakase Vunileva. “It's a miracle we have an opportunity to move into this new location.”
The lot was home to one location of Denver Christian Schools for 26 years, prior to its last day of school in Highlands Ranch on May 23. Denver Christian Schools moved to a larger lot in Lakewood to consolidate its three locations onto one campus.
Mile High Academy is relocating because it has outgrown its five-acre location on Yale Avenue. The school is buying the old DC property.
In the three years since she has been principal, Vunileva said enrollment has steadily increased. The school has 190 students, but the goal is to have 700 students by 2025.
The additional 10 acres at the Highlands Ranch location will allow the school to grow. Renovation of the inside is already underway, with plans for future expansions of the structure, Hammond said.
About 75 percent of its students live south and east of its current location. The new site right off of C-470, Vunileva said, will be more accessible. However, Mile High Academy is a commuting school, she said, so families are already accustomed to traveling.
Mile High Academy “looks forward to joining the Highlands Ranch community, introducing them to our current friends and partners, and creating new partnerships,” Hammond said. “We are an involved and active school that desires to include the community around us.”
The new school will be a great addition to the community, because it has the caliber of academic excellence this area is accustomed to, said Andrea LaRew, president of the Highlands Ranch Chamber of Commerce.
Also, she added, bringing more children and families to the community creates new opportunities for businesses to partner with a reputable academic organization.
Mile High Academy draws students from all faiths and has a number of community partners, including all the Adventist hospitals in Denver and outlying areas, Hammond said. Students also are involved with community outreach, she added. For example, students work with ACS Community Lift, which helps Denver-area individuals and families in different stages of need.
“We are uniquely Christian,” Vunileva said. “The core of who we are comes from that.”
The school emphasizes arts, leadership and technology in education, and hopes to expand its programs in music, athletics and science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Suzuki strings — violin, viola and cello — instruction is part of required curriculum for pre-kindergarten through sixth-grade students.
“We're a small school that provides a solid academic experience. We're like a family here,” she said. “Highlands Ranch shares the family values that Mile High has.”
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