Life again at old Carbondale school | AspenTimes.com

Life again at old Carbondale school

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE ” The Frogs of Bridges High School have breathed new life into the old Carbondale Middle School.

The facility that once housed hundreds of students from fifth to eighth grade is now a permanent home for the 80 high school students and five full-time faculty of Bridges.

“This is the first permanent space that we’ve had since Bridges started in 1997,” said Bridges principal Lyn Bair. “So, this is the first space that the students have really had that is really theirs.”

When Bair was asked what the biggest challenge for the school has been, she replied, “Just getting here.”

The students and faculty of Bridges have known many classrooms over the years.

The school first started by splitting classes between the Career Center in Glenwood Springs and the Colorado Mountain College Glenwood Campus on Blake Avenue, according to Bair.

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From there the school was hoping to move into its current facility at the start of last school year but were held up by the discovery in the building of asbestos, which needed to be removed. Instead, the students and faculty were housed in the new Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale for the first semester of the 2007-08 school year, where the 80 students and five teachers shared three classrooms and some hall space.

However, in the middle of that year they had to move again. Bridges then moved into the old Carbondale Elementary School, where they finished the 2007-08 school year.

And then the boxes came out once again, and the faculty prepared to move, hopefully for the last time.

“Each time we had to move, it’s pack, unpack, pack, unpack,” she said. “We are experts at packing and unpacking.”

But all that moving had its effects on the students and the faculty.

“I think it was a little unsettling for everyone,” Bair said. “The staff tried to make it the best they could for the kids, and the kids really rolled with the punches.”

Now, moving is all behind them, and they have a school building that is all theirs.

“It’s kind of like a real school,” Bair said. “Which has its pros and cons, you know.

Bridges has always been the alternative option for students that didn’t find success in the more traditional high school. And so, do you want to put us in a real school or

not? But right now it’s been pretty positive.”

This year, on the first day of school, the Bridges faculty held an assembly for the students in the gymnasium. It was the first time in school history to have an assembly with the entire student body, and a gymnasium for that matter.

“It was great,” Bair said. “We came in and actually sat together, we’ve never been able to sit in a room all together, and we came into the gym and welcomed all the students and had breakfast for them, too.”

Bridges now has six classrooms, faculty offices and a front office, student and faculty lounge, a student commons area and a gymnasium complete with a climbing wall.

The new facility may be an old one, but it’s new to Bridges, and it has breathed a whole new life into the faculty and the students.

“It’s already made a difference,” Bair said. “We’ve never been able to decorate the rooms because they were not ours. But claiming that space has been really

important.”

Bair said the students have already been putting more effort into their learning because, in her opinion, the teachers have put importance into the space.

“They’ve created these amazing learning spaces, which is huge,” Bair said. “Now the difference is, you walk into the hall and instead of chasing kids into classes, kids are in classes because the classrooms are comfortable. The students are in there and they are engaged, which is a big difference.”

As far as Bair knows, this is the last time Bridges will have to move for many years to come.

The building also houses Computers 4 Kids (C4K), the Partnering for Success program, which is a department of C4K, and the Roaring Fork School District’s information services, which was located in modular units outside of the old Roaring Fork High School.

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