Woodland Park, Colorado is located approximately 20 miles west of Colorado Springs, on highway U.S. 24 at the upper end of Ute Pass.
The original school was a two-story, white frame building with two teachers.The school house was built in 1890 at the height of the timber-cutting boom and at the beginning of the Cripple Creek Gold Rush.The town was named Manitou Park and had “probably 1,500 to 2,000 people”, according to the November 18, 1887 issue of the Weekly Gazette.The settlement was always bustling and busy because there was a lot of business from the lumber mills and mining camps.
As business in the area began decreasing people started moving away and soon only one teacher and one classroom was needed.
During 1924, the school was consolidated with four other districts, involving the Edlowe District located three miles west of Woodland Park, Eisweth on the property no known as Paint Pony Ranch, Crystola, and the pink schoolhouse located near present Manitou Park.At this time the town was beginning to grow again and three teachers were needed.The little white schoolhouse in Edlowe was brought in and place just north of the original school.
The small Edlowe school housed the primary grades and the remainder was divided into the other two classrooms.The first school bus began operation in 1921 and ran north to Manitou Park.A hot lunch program was started that year as a parent volunteer project.
Woodland Park School District voters approved a Bond Issue shortly after World War I and, with government aid, constructed a brick school building containing four classrooms and a large central stage where many community functions were held.During this period, the District offered Kindergarten through 10th grade in its own facilities.Students in grades 11 and 12 attended class in Manitou Springs.The District’s first graduation will all 12 grades represented was in 1926.
In the period from 1935 to 1938, the gymnasium at the Midland Avenue site was constructed and two more classrooms were added.By 1942, there were 107 students enrolled and, in 1946, the Divide School (District 6) was brought into the District.
A new grade school (the east building at the old Middle School on Midland Avenue) was built in 1955.The two existing older buildings were joined together to become the District’s junior-senior high school at about the same time the high school was accredited.
In 1959, Teller County residents voted to reduce the number of Districts to two, Cripple Creek-Victor Re-1 and Woodland Park Re-2, which added the Midland and Florissant schools to the Woodland Park District.In the same year the first kindergarten class was held in the Faith Lutheran Church.
The pace of growth began to accelerate in 1964 when a new Junior-Senior High School opened on the Central Campus on Baldwin Street and the older buildings on Midland Avenue became elementary facilities.The new Junior-Senior High School was designed to accommodate some 285 students.In 1971, a 7,600 square foot, two-story metal building was added to the 1964 structure providing band and music rooms and a stage as well as expanding the seating in the gymnasium.
In 1970, Woodland Park Elementary (now Gateway Elementary) opened on the Central Campus of Baldwin Avenue.The old school buildings on Midland Avenue became a Junior High school.The Junior-Senior High School then housed only senior high school students.A new Junior High School building (now Woodland Park High School) was constructed on the Central Campus in 1975.The old school buildings became a 4th and 5th grade and later a 5th and 6th grade Middle School.
The number of students reached nearly 2,000 by 1984 and some of the schools were literally bursting at the seams.Kindergarten was held in a rented building near the Central Campus on Baldwin Avenue.The District was forced to rent administrative office space on Highway 24 and rearrange the Junior High and Senior High facilities.
The District held a successful Bond Issue in 1986 and constructed a new Elementary School (now Columbine Elementary).The construction of this facility provided the space required for the District to move the 5th grade from the old Middle School and Kindergarten students from a rented building.For the first time in many years the District could now operate its elementary program in traditional Kindergarten through 5th grade facilities.
With the construction of Columbine Elementary, the original Woodland Park Elementary was renamed Gateway Elementary.The interior of this building was completely reconfigured.A new addition at the north end of the building provided for an enlarged gymnasium and music room.With construction of a new cafeteria and kitchen in this addition, the children would no longer have to climb the steps to the high school building for lunch.
The 1986 construction program included a classroom addition for the 6th grade students and the opportunity to begin the implementation of the new 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Middle School educational program.
The product of the successful 1991 Bond Issue is the facilities of today to include the construction of the Middle School on Kelley’s Road and Summit elementary in Divide.Summit Elementary provided a long awaited facility for the patrons in the western part of the District.The move of the Middle School in to the new building provided remodeled space for the District Administration offices as well as growth space for the High School.The District no longer had to rent space for administrative offices which provided valuable additional funds for educational needs and other capital projects.
Both enrollment and educational programs continued to grow from 1991 to 2001.The District experienced phenomenal growth from 2,311 students in 1990 to over 3,200 students in 2001…up an astonishing 38.5%!
The Middle School and High School were both over capacity resulting in severe overcrowding situations.Although a Kindergarten through 5th grade facility was built in Divide, the western portion of the District continued to grow.
A bond and mill levy failed in 2003, but passed in 2004. The construction and upgrades were completed in the fall of 2005.