A Bird's Eye View is a monthly newsletter designed to keep you updated on the progress of our most exciting project to date--building Animas High School's permanent campus at Fort Lewis College. While much of our focus in the past month has been on preparing for the start of the school year and the safe return of our students and staff to campus, we continue to move ahead with important steps towards the creation of our new school building.
Building Our New Nest: Project Updates

Work related to our Campus Construction Project in the past month has included:

  • hiring Dynamic Program Management (DPM) as our Owner's Representative. DPM was founded on the desire to be fully engaged, on the ground and focused solely on project goals and their implementation. DPM is comprised of A/E/C veterans who have decades of experience managing projects in Western Colorado and a passion for collaboration. They have experience in all market sectors but specialize in affordable housing, k12 education, municipal and hospitality work. DPM is committed to the following five business principles: Creative Problem Solving, Team Building, Integrity, Love of Learning and Tenaciousness.

  • pursuing additional funding sources including the USDA Community Facilities Program, designed to support public services in rural communities, as well as financial commitments from donors, foundations and the Charter School Institute that will enable us to cover costs of the project this year.

Looking ahead, key steps will include:

  • beginning the search process for our Architect

  • recruiting for the Design Advisory Group, which will include students, staff, families and community members

We seek full transparency and equity in our hiring and awarding of contracts, and therefore will not meet with potential vendors outside of our Request for Proposals and interview processes.

For more information about the AHS Campus Construction project timeline and process, please visit http://animashighschool.com/new-building-information/
How to Get Involved

At Animas, we value community input and engagement, and there will be plenty of opportunities for you to get involved as we build our new school. Here are ways you can help now:

  • Advocate for the approval of the November bond measure. Reach out to AHS Alumni Parent Amy Hewitt at hewittmv@gmail.com to learn how to help with voter turnout and outreach, which will include doorstep information drops and phone banking. If you have a group that you would like our Head of School to speak with about either the bond measure or our Campus Construction Project, please reach out to sean.woytek@animashighschool.com.

  • Join the AHS Board of Directors. We are seeking 2-3 new members to continue to focus on the ongoing success and daily operations of AHS during this exciting time. To learn more, contact Board President Jeff King at jeff.king@animashighschool.com.

  • Join the Animas High School Building Corporation. The AHSBC is the owning entity of our facility and their role includes acquiring, leasing, constructing and improving property. Reach out to Jeff King for more information.

  • Join the Design Advisory Board. Stay tuned for more information coming soon!

  • Help with a capital campaign to help raise any additional funding we will need beyond BEST Grant and bond; stay tuned for more details and reach out to Jeff King or Head of School Sean Woytek if you'd like to get involved on the ground floor.
Osprey Voices

Each month, we interview an AHS community member to hear their thoughts about plans for our future home. This month, we chatted with Bridget Stowers. This is Bridget's fifth year in our Main Office, but she's been part of the AHS community since the very start.

Bridget grew up in Connecticut and even though she has lived most of her adult life in Colorado, she still considers herself to be a true Yankee. She attended the University of Massachusetts for two years after high school. While taking a gap year to ski and work in Aspen, she decided to pursue her Geology degree in Colorado. She graduated from Fort Lewis College with a B.S. degree in Geology and worked for Merrion Oil and Gas in Farmington, NM, as a geologist and then for AMACO (BP), in their Environmental and Safety department. She returned to Fort Lewis to obtain her teaching certification in the early 90s where she received her certification in K-5 and completed course work for a middle school endorsement. Bridget met her husband at the top of Ray’s Ridge at the T-8 duty station, where he was working on the ski patrol and she was volunteering for Adaptive Sports Association. They have three amazing sons who have all graduated from AHS, pictured above--Finn (AHS class of 2019), Rex (AHS class of 2015) and Cooper (AHS class of 2013).

What do you love most about being an Osprey?
What I love most about being an Osprey is being part of a vibrant community of educators, who are very passionate about teaching our students and helping them develop into confident, critical thinkers. It's an honor to watch the students' growth from their first year to their senior year and beyond. Our school community is very special and I love being a part of it.

What brought you to AHS?
Way back in 2009, my oldest son, Cooper was about to enter high school, and we were not impressed with the choices in Durango at the time. There were several community members who felt the same way, that there had to be a better way to engage our high school students. I had a deep respect for all the founders of Animas High School and I was excited that my son would have the choice to have a much more enriching experience with project-based learning. When I heard founding teachers Lori and John Fisher speak at an enrollment event, we were completely on board. Animas High School exceeded all our expectations and I still love this school to this day.

How do you see AHS positively impacting our community?
Just the fact that Animas High School exists in this community has been important to the growth of education in Durango. Having choices keeps us all on our toes. Animas has been a leader in education with public exhibitions, student-led conferences, digital portfolios, internships, senior TED talks, theses, and projects. Many schools have adopted these practices after seeing their relevance and impact. Animas High School continues to put progressive pedagogy at the core of its mission.

What's most exciting to you about AHS receiving the BEST Grant?
This has been a very long time coming. We can finally design and build a school that matches who we are. I was a parent volunteer, breaking down dry wall in the strip mall, trying to create a school from the ground up. We as a school have faced many challenges over the last 10 years but many of us are still here because we believe in this school and is mission. The collaboration with Fort Lewis is so exciting and we are just going to continue to push the boundaries of what's possible for the future of education. I have 3 boys who have all graduated from Animas High School and in true alumni form, they are thrilled for future students!

Where do you envision AHS in 10 years?
In 10 years, Animas High School will be recognized by all of Colorado as an innovative model for the future of high school education. We already have educators and administrators coming to our school to see how amazing we are and I see us continuing to be leaders in education over the next 10 years and beyond!