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New performing arts school to open in Thornton in 2022

Mapleton School District adds new school
New performing arts school to open in Thornton in 2022
Posted at 8:08 AM, Dec 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-16 10:08:00-05

THORNTON, Colo. — Performing on Broadway is a dream for many young artists, and now it’s becoming a reality for students in the Mapleton School District.

Next fall, the Mapleton Arts Center on Broadway will open as a performing arts school for 7th through 12th graders. This year, students are using the 45,000-square-foot building for some classes and performances.

The school, which was designed and built by the Neenan Company, is located on Mapleton’s Global Campus.

Architect Seth Clark said acoustics played a big role in designing the building’s different spaces. There are separate rooms for band, orchestra, and choir, as well as a black box theater space.

“We were able to incorporate a lot of different kinds of impromptu performance spaces — places where the whole building can kind of come alive,” Clark said.

The building also includes a 900-seat theater. Choir student CJ Segura was particularly excited about the new dressing room for future productions.

“I love singing and acting and here, I get to do that with my friends and it's really given me a sense of community,” Segura said.

The school will not require an audition to attend, but the hope is that every student will discover their passion while learning through the arts.

“There are going to be kids who are going to go on to Carnegie and to Broadway, but the goal really is that when kids are part of a production, they're learning about collaboration. They're doing problem solving. They're learning leadership,” said Jackson Westenskow, who will serve as the director of the new performing arts school.

Mapleton School District Deputy Superintendent Damon Brown said performing arts is the latest offering in a district that prides itself on choices.

“We have international baccalaureate, we have expeditionary learning. This (performing arts school) will really be a cultural focus for our community,” Brown said.

The district provides free transportation for students to attend any of its schools.