Aspen Creek Gets a Fresh Coat


  Aspen Creek PreK-8 has initiated a complete makeover of the school. The remodeling includes painting the walls all throughout the building and removing colored ceiling tiles, which includes student art legacies, installing new carpet for the floors, and brightening lights in the hallways. 

Although the new changes are aimed at fixing up the interior, there’s a debate about artwork around the school being diminished. Principal Jennifer Bedford, new this May, instigated the changes.

Principal Bedford, repeated the phrase: “Time for a reset”. This sums up her, and the school’s, new effort to clean up the building and create a better learning environment for the students. 

Before the new administration arrived, the school was filthy, inside and out. There was food spread on the walls and ceilings, strange stains in the carpet throughout the school, and trash on the ground and in the lights hanging in the hallways; obviously not your typical learning environment. It was time for a change, or better stated, a reset.

Despite the positive intentions of the remodel, a destroyed art piece lead to uproar among certain Aspen Creek alumnis and parents; the handprints on one of the walls leading towards the library have been completely painted over. 

This wall contained the colorful handprints of hundreds of students who attended Aspen Creek in the years past. “When I look at those handprints, I don’t ever recall seeing anybody’s name on any of them,” said Bedford. Parents and former students with their hands on the wall were not given notice. 

The decision to remove all painted ceiling tiles also caused some controversy. 

The tiles were the work of generations of 8th grade art students; the spread of the changes at Aspen Creek shocked past students when they learned that their works of art had been removed. This was done with no notice to parents or students, other than in the Principal’s annual welcome email, which alluded to the dramatic changes. 

Lisa Summerfield, the 6th grade science teacher, understands the confusion coming with the covering of student art. “It’s like erasing history,” Summerfield said. “That’s not settling well with a lot of people, and understandably so. I think part of the reason [students] come back and visit is to revisit [their] memories of elementary or middle school.”

“The overall appearance of our school has changed dramatically with this new updated look and my hope is that by the beginning of the next school year (2020-21) we will have the upper level repainted,” Bedford wrote in that email discussing other additional back-to-school information. 

The tiles, specifically, were removed due to a district suggestion that they were a fire safety violation. 

“They have a fire retardant on the ceiling tiles themselves, and when you start painting them, you change the structure of the tiles so they can become more susceptible to fire,” Bedford explained. 

Summerfield is in full support of the adjustments. “The hallways needed paint, so, sounds good to me as far as freshening things up,” Summerfield said. “I think it’s kind to have allowed maintenance to paint our building.”

Though the sections of art have been taken down, the new administrators plan on finding a way to incorporate student involvement in the decoration of the newly restored building. It was mentioned that they may do some type of canvas art that can be taken down and put back up as is desired. 

“We want to be thoughtful around how we are creating art pieces that will last for years to come,” said Bedford. 

Wanting to spruce things up and create a more professional, prep-for-high school environment, Bedford spent the entire summer hard at work: “I was at Superior [Middle School] before, and it’s an older building than Aspen Creek. When [I came] into Aspen Creek, it was really worn, and it looked like it needed some tender loving care.”

Summerfield agrees with an enforced high school environment. Boulder Valley School District focuses on test scores and pushing students to do better in preparation for the future. 

“What district doesn’t want to increase their test scores? […] Definitely related to wanting to have students prepared more so for high school.” Summerfield said.

Overall, the new changes that are in store for Aspen Creek are designed to provoke a new learning environment for students. A better learning environment is the goal, and Bedford is striving to achieve that.