Partners in learning with Animas High School

Animas High School students at Fort Lewis College campus

In 2020, Animas High School was awarded $13.7 million from the Colorado Department of Education through the competitive Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) Grant process for the construction of facilities in a corner of the Fort Lewis College campus.

With similar missions focused on accessibility, belonging, and hands-on learning, AHS is a great partner with FLC. The two schools share key values of innovation, experiential education, transformative learning, and inclusivity.

Construction of the high school is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for FLC. By bringing an outstanding educational partner to campus, FLC is increasing learning experiences for Teacher Education undergraduates and deepening existing collaborations between local educational entities. For FLC, welcoming AHS students to campus is about knowledge-sharing, benefiting the greater community, and better supporting any AHS student who wants a pathway to be a Skyhawk.

About Animas High School

AHS opened in the fall of 2009 to offer rigorous, individualized college preparation through project-based learning. AHS is a public charter school serving approximately 200 students in grades 9-12, chartered through the Colorado Charter School Institute. AHS embodies educational leadership through innovative programs that raise the bar for public education. The school’s mission is to prepare all students for college and postsecondary success by creating critical thinkers and engaged citizens through an innovative, student-centered, project-based curriculum. 

Location, location, location

The AHS campus is located just south of the Bader-Snyder Residence Halls. The facilities are a stunning amalgamation of place and practice, a nature-inspired campus featuring modern learning labs. AHS’s footprint is just under four acres on an 11-acre “point” of piñon-juniper woodland at the edge of the FLC campus.

AHS will share FLC’s epic views of Durango but is otherwise self-contained. AHS is a closed campus during school hours—meaning students do not leave—and AHS-specific parking spaces have been built and assigned to AHS students and employees. Some Animas High School students participate in Early College (dual enrollment) and attend college courses online or at FLC. Currently, 14 area high schools have dual enrollment students taking classes here on campus.

Common questions about AHS at FLC

Did FLC fund the construction of AHS?

No. AHS acquired funding for its facilities through the Colorado Department of Education’s BEST Grant, philanthropic donations, and a Durango School District 9-R bond.

Will the new high school affect traffic or parking for FLC commuters?

Impact studies show the AHS campus will not pose a density issue, traffic or otherwise.

Why was a high school prioritized for construction rather than new housing?

New housing construction is a priority for FLC, it’s just that timelines on major construction projects are years-long. In 2020, when the Colorado Department of Education granted AHS $13.7 million for the facilities to be built here at FLC, the effects of the pandemic-induced housing crisis were not yet crystalizing. In 2022, the demand for on-campus housing and the unreliable nature of in-town rentals informed leadership’s approach to student and employee housing.

·       Learn more about our commitment to affordable housing

Will there be a noticeable increase in high school students present around the FLC campus?

The AHS campus is closed, meaning students arrive for classes in the morning and don't leave—even for the lunch hour—until the school day is over in the afternoon. Some high school students are concurrently enrolled at FLC, meaning they are taking college-level courses while still attending a local high school. In fact, there are already more than 150 high school students who attend FLC for classes.

What about safety and logistics?

FLC and AHS have concrete operating and educational agreements that were well thought out in advance by the leadership of both institutions. Everything from snow removal to facilities use to conduct is spelled out in the agreements, which serve as a guiding document.