Pueblo Franklin School of Innovation breaks ground on new school

A new beginning awaits the Pueblo Primary School, known as the “Crown Value of Belmont,” whose infrastructure has seen better days.

Franklin Innovation School began construction of the new building on Tuesday.

Winter temperatures moved the bookmarking ceremony to the gym, but the show continued.

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“The school has existed here since 1954, so it is almost 70 years old,” said principal Dana Ditamazo-Junkman. “It’s time to bring a new and innovative school to Pueblo.”

Recurrent problems with water, flooding and electricity have plagued the original school building, which has served the community for 68 years, Ditamazo-Junkman said.

Franklin Innovative School Director Dana DiTamaso-Junkman speaks at the inauguration ceremony of the new school in Puebla, Colorado, on Tuesday, February 22, 2022.

“We kind of robbed Peter to pay Paul for our electricity,” she said. “If we use too much electricity, we’ll hear the switches. With this new building, things will be completely different. We can run the microwave and turn on the computer at the same time. Electricity was a really big problem.”

Ditamazo-Junkman, teacher Debra Mueller, fifth-grade student council president Makaila Herin, third-grade student council representative Michael Gonzalez and 10th District Judge Jeff Chostner, a Franklin alumnus, helped disrupt the first ceremonial parties of dirt.

It is planned that the construction of the new school will be completed by autumn 2023.

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On Tuesday, February 22, 2022, ceremonial shovels are expected to be used to bookmark Franklin’s new School of Innovation in Puebla, Colorado.

Gonzalez and his third-grade classmates will be the first class to complete the new building in two years. Third graders took first place seats at the ceremony and led a crowd of attendees as they sang a school song.

“Essentially, we’re building it in our backyard,” Ditamazo-Junkman said. “We’ll still have school all year, no glitches. We had a part of our school that was demolished for a new gym, but that shouldn’t be a hindrance for any of us.”

The construction of the new school was made possible by a grant from Building Excellent Schools Today from the Colorado Department of Education.

Franklin School of Innovation is one of two Pueblo D60 schools that receive funding through Colorado BEST grants. Another, Sunset Park Elementary, will open in its building on Wednesday.

Pueblo Chieftain reporter James Bartolo can be contacted by email at JBartolo@gannett.com

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