Colorado Early Colleges to move to former Advanced Energy building

FORT COLLINS — Colorado Early Colleges Fort Collins, a sixth- through 12th-grade charter school that is reporting increased enrollment, is in the process of remodeling the former Advanced Energy Industries Inc. building on Innovation Drive in Fort Collins, where it will move its high school in August.

The school has hired The Neenan Co., a design-build firm based in Fort Collins, to update and remodel the industrial building. Construction is underway on the 91,000-square-foot space that will provide more room for the growing school.

Through partnerships with two-year colleges, the school offers students the opportunity to earn an associate degree while still in high school.

The new location will include a maker space for students to build and work with their hands; a construction-science space for trade education such as electrical, plumbing, woodworking; space to accommodate additional college courses taught through Front Range and Aims Community colleges; a custom kitchen to prepare food from scratch; a gymnasium, 500-seat auditorium, music room, bookstore, tutoring center, health clinic and expanded classrooms, offices and open spaces for students.

Since its start in 2012, enrollment at the school has grown an average of 42.4 percent each year, according to a prepared statement released Wednesday by the school. It has 900 students from across Northern Colorado. Seventy-two percent of the 2016 graduating class earned an associate degree and/or certification, and 75 percent of 2017 graduates are on pace to do the same.

The charter school’s middle school is located at 4512 McMurry Ave., a building it shares with T.R. Paul Academy of Arts & Knowledge. The academy will move into the charter school’s former high school building at 4800 Wheaton Drive over the summer, making room for the middle-school expansion and Colorado Early Learning Pre-School, a CEC partner school.