This story was originally published by Chalkbeat Colorado. More at chalkbeat.org.
Heartbroken but worried about potentially fatal hazards, the Adams 14 school board has made way for the demolition of a beloved former school building that has endured a fire, squatters, and likely a meth lab.
Continuing safety threats are so severe that demolishing the old Adams City High School is the best choice, an insurance representative told the board last week. The decision was difficult for members of the board and public who had hoped to realize previous plans to renovate the campus for usable public space.
“It’s unfortunate the district in the past hasn’t taken care of these buildings to let them get to this kind of disrepair,” board President Ramona Lewis said.
The former high school has been empty since 2009 when the district moved high school students to a new building off of Quebec Parkway.
The insurance representative told the school board of vandalism and break-ins over the last 12 years. People who have broken in have destroyed at least 15 pianos and other school furniture left in the building. This summer, a fire damaged the roof of the building where people were known to break in and have parties. The structure is so unstable that it poses a risk to anyone walking in, officials have determined. Even the insurance representative had trouble getting fire officials to grant him access, he said.
“It’s an accident waiting to happen,” the insurance representative told the school board.
The former site of Adams City High School on 4525 E. 68th Ave. is next to the district’s newest building, Alsup Elementary School.
“You’ve got this situation 50 yards from a brand-new school. It’s just not a safe situation,” the representative said.