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Pot money to fund replacement of decades-old school in Commerce City

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. -- A nearly 60-year-old elementary school in Adams County School District 14 is falling apart.

Structural deficiencies and smelly sewage issues are just two of the concerns for parents and children at Alsup Elementary School in Commerce City.

But the community won’t have to deal with those concerns indefinitely. Thanks to the marijuana industry in Colorado, a wrecking ball is set to hit the school in order to build a new one.

Meanwhile, employees at Alsup are preparing for the first day of school this year by making sure repairs hold on a building that was constructed when President Dwight Eisenhower was in the White House.

“You’ve got a drainage system that drips, exposed conduit,” Adams 14  Chief Operating Officer Gionni Thompson explained during a tour of the school earlier in the summer.

Along with constant sewage backup, walls are becoming detached and water pipes are leaking.

“[The pipes] would just drip this freezing cold water down onto my tables and my kids,” an art teacher explained.

The noise from the HVAC system in the school’s kindergarten room makes it hard for kids to concentrate. But help is on the way.

Thompson says money the state banked on the excise tax of marijuana and from other sources -- about $20 million -- will fund a new Alsup Elementary School on an open field at East 68th Avenue and Brighton Boulevard.

That location is less than a mile from the school’s current location.

The new construction will allow Adams 14 to sell the land serving the current school. The proceeds from the sale will help the district eventually replace Adams City Middle School, according to Thompson.

“I think the kids deserve a better environment,” a parent said.

Alsup parents say they can’t wait to say goodbye to the old.

“Now our community sees that we did take advantage of that marijuana money and we’re bringing in a new school,” Thompson said.

The new Alsup Elementary School is expected to be completed in 2020.

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