The groundbreaking of the new Fort Collins Montessori School campus took place in February 2020. In August we opened our doors! Located at 1109 West Harmony Road in southwest Fort Collins, this property is the home of the unified FCMS campus.
A Brief History
From its founding in 2014 through spring of 2020, FCMS had leased space for its seven classrooms, 141 students and 21 staff from two church properties in Fort Collins. With the completion of Phase I construction in August 2020, the FCMS Harmony Campus accommodates 10 classrooms and 200 students. Phase II, expected to begin within 5 years, will add room for an additional 112 students.
In April 2019, the Poudre School District renewed the FCMS charter, which allowed us to build and expand upon the FCMS offering to the Fort Collins community through this permanent location. We are excited about what our new, prime location has to offer—designed specifically for our Montessori program and connecting our school with neighboring Front Range Community College campus and the Poudre District Harmony Library. Daniel Rinehart—FCMS Board Member
FCMS is the only public elementary Montessori option in northern Colorado and offers full- and half-day preschool as well as a tuition-free K-6th. With this move, FCMS will be able to offer more seats for enrollment and more Fort Collins families the Montessori experience.
It is a rare opportunity to be in a position to build a Montessori school from the ground up. Everything on our new campus—from cabinetry to flooring to ceilings—was designed with child development and the needs of the child in mind. Natural lighting, soft colors, and uncluttered spaces will set the stage for activity that is focused and calm. Paul Vincent, Head of School at FCMS.
The Montessori method of education was developed by Dr. Maria Montessori—an Italian physician and a child developmental psychologist. Dr. Montessori discovered that all children innately want to learn, and that encouraging, respecting, and supporting the “whole child” (their physical, emotional, social, and spiritual dimensions) leads to the best outcomes for each individual and each community of learners. Dr. Montessori was deeply committed to advocating for children and to supporting the growth of each child’s inner potential, regardless of socio-economic status.
Fort Collins Montessori School is an Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), AMI/USA Member School, a John Irwin School of Excellence award recipient, a member of the Colorado League of Charter Schools, and is validated by the Colorado Montessori Association.
FCMS is grateful to all the friends and families that gave financially and tirelessly to make a permanent home a reality. We would also like to recognize the Poudre School District and project partners Hauser Architects, Elder Construction, and The FronTerra Group.
In the Press
The Building of Our School
January 6, 2020: Last week we talked about the trees and how are making every effort to keep Fort Collins beautiful. Here are photos from the landscaping crew transplanting 12 of the healthy pine trees. Any others that were not able to be moved will be replaced and cared for properly moving forward.
January 13, 2020: Our new campus is looking very different than it did earlier last month. We have had a few questions about the decision/planning portion of the site plan and how it related to the trees. During the planning phase, our team of architects, construction crew, landscaping consulted with The City of Fort Collins Forestry Division and had them evaluate all of the trees on the 5-acre lot. It was from there that the plan was created to save as many of the existing healthy trees as possible and replace the others. From the beginning, keeping Fort Collins beautiful and clean has been a big priority.
January 25, 2020: Our official groundbreaking ceremony takes place this coming Saturday, February 1 from 1:00-2:00p. The property is primed and ready for construction to begin! Last week, our Head of School met with members of the Front Range Community College administrative team to introduce our school and explore potential partnerships. FRCC was very excited to have a new academic neighbor. We discussed multiple possibilities: field trips, going outs, shared spaces, etc.
February 8, 2020: On February 1, 2020, with a beautiful 68˚F break in a Colorado winter and a turnout of 200+ supporters of our school, Fort Collins Montessori School joyfully celebrated the official groundbreaking of its new, unified campus at 1109 W Harmony Rd in Fort Collins.
Thank you all who turned out—and a big thank you to our partner, Elder Construction, for hosting the event. We were honored to have school founders, Poudre School District’s (PSD) School Board President, Christophe Febvre, the PSD Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Schools, Todd Lambert, and Liberty Commons Principal, Casey Churchill join us for the event.
FCMS friends, families, staff and community members had quite the time throwing shovelsful of dirt and snapping pictures to capture the moment! In addition to dirt flying, kids (and staff!) enjoyed climbing aboard an excavator and a marigold planting project. Students were free to roam the property and visualize where their new classrooms would be.
The new Harmony Campus will combine FCMS’ two existing locations into one and offer space for an additional 60 students. Open August 2020, the first phase includes 1 building just under 15,000 square feet with two playgrounds to support Pre-K through 6thgrade. The design provides open classroom settings with a connection to the outdoors and plenty of natural day lighting. The corridor space allows for circulation and provides areas for additional learning.
For more information, please reference this Elder Construction press release.
February 15, 2020: FCMS partnered with Poudre Fire Authority (PFA) to allow its firefighters to use the on-site buildings for training. Passersby witnessed firefighters making entry and exit holes in the roofs and walls of the buildings. It was exciting to watch and we assure you, this was not an act of vandalism, but another opportunity for FCMS to support our greater community!
February 23, 2020: The houses came down! Now that the buildings are down, we are set to start getting the foundation of the school poured. Though some of the process has been invisible, our crews have been working in the background framing up walls and working on prefabrication projects to keep us on track!
March 9, 2020: Last week the crews excavated half of the building pad and compacted the earth to prepare for the footings and then foundation. Fortunately, the soil on site is very good and passed compaction testing on Friday! Those mounds of dirt will continue to build and then be redistributed throughout the next several days as they finish the other sections. Once the pad is poured, it will be much easier to see how much work has been done in the background with framing of the walls is being done off site.
March 16, 2020: While our students were busy working hard last week, Elder Construction was also hard at work. They finished compacting the soil for the footings and prep work for the foundation. Very soon, they will pour the concrete and then we will begin to see the initial vertical elements of our new school! We want to send a huge thank you to our crews who are working very hard to make sure our campus is ready and beautiful for our students in August.
March 23, 2020: Though we are in the midst of uncertain times, Elder Construction has been continuing to work on the new site. They are following CDC guidelines to ensure their workers and subcontractors are healthy and safe. Each day, any and all workers check-in with supervisors on site to evaluate their ability to work. They have installed hand washing pods on site to encourage increased safety. Last week they finished half of the foundation and are on track to finish the remainder this week. We do not anticipate any negative impact on the timeframe of completion at this point.
March 30, 2020: Last week Elder worked with the state to ensure that they were able to maintain safe working conditions for their crews. Because of the supportive approach Elder has with their teams, construction is still underway! They are continuing to monitor safety of everyone on the job site and also making sure to keep on schedule. Last week, they finished the foundation and backfilled. This week, they are scheduled to get the plumbing and electric wiring done, then on to the slab. We heard that as of Friday last week, all of the walls were already framed and ready for install! Wow that’s a lot of work already done. It will not be too much longer before we start seeing everything go vertical.
April 6, 2020: We want to continue to express our appreciation for Elder Construction and subcontractors who are continuing to put in tireless, but safe, work in order to keep our project on track. Currently they are not expecting impacts to the schedule due to availability of resources and due to the COVID-19 regulations. Last week the crew finished the backfill of the foundation and wiring for the underground portion of the electrical work. This week they are planning on finishing up the plumbing work and pouring the slab!
April 13, 2020: Last week and this weekend, construction was going strong. The crews finished with the underground plumbing and electrical work. The slabs for the building were poured on Friday and Saturday. Half of the prefabricated walls were delivered, and a huge crane was setup to get the walls up early next week! Elder informed me on Friday that they are working very carefully to follow the Governor’s Executive Order to the letter in order to maintain the safety of the crews and insure they are allowed to continue working. Crews are to wear protective face coverings and maintain social distancing as possible. They are also continuing to monitor the health of workers as they arrive on site. Below, enjoy the photos showing half of the slab that was poured on Friday as well as the crane lifting some of the walls off of the delivery truck.
April 18, 2020: A lot of work has been done on our new campus. All underground wiring and underground plumbing are completed. All of the foundation and slabs have been poured. All of the prefabricated walls were delivered on site and the HUGE crane has been putting the walls in place. Walls and the front entry truss started going up on Wednesday and continued through the weekend, with a short break due to the snowstorm on Thursday.
April 27, 2020: We went from only having the foundation and slab poured last Friday to almost every wall and roof structure up by the following Friday. Elder is continuing to push forward on the construction. They are maintaining best practices for safety and continue to monitor all workers on the project site. Please see the photos showing the walls, roof and beginning of the main entry.
May 4, 2020: The work continues to happen very quickly! Elder and crew have continued to be amazing with their construction efforts. On Friday, I walked the site and joked that “At this rate, we could hold classes inside by the end of May!” Obviously, that is hyperbole but if you have watched the progress, it is not too far off. We still anticipate opening in our new campus in the Fall for the 2020-2021 school year!
May 16, 2020:
Construction continues! On Friday I walked the building with our architect and construction team to review high and low voltage locations throughout the building. It is pretty amazing to see how quickly things are coming along with this project. Our team shared with me (in private that this is everyone’s favorite). I was impressed with how much natural light comes through the “windows” (scheduled for actual windows to be set-in early next week. Here are a few photos from outside and inside the building! I wonder if any of our children can find the different shapes being made in these pictures?
May 24, 2020:
Windows were installed last week, and they sure do look amazing! Much of the other work is difficult to see from the outside drive, but it is happening FAST.
A look back at the school from the future playground.
A look down the entryway from the secure vestibule and a peek into the main office.
Inside view from one of the classrooms.
A view that you will see when driving through the drop-off lane at our front entryway.
June 14, 2020:
Even though school is out for the summer construction continues! Our new campus will be ready for our children whenever we are able to come back in session in person. Here are a few photos from the last several weeks. By today, they will all be old and new developments will have already been in the works.
July 25, 2020:
Construction continues and is quickly coming to the end! The construction crew has been putting in long hours and weeks to make sure our new building is ready for students this fall. Enjoy these photos from the front drive lane to the inside hallway ceiling made of reclaimed Beetle Kill Pine (you can actually see the holes made by the beetles).