Centauri grads make history


LA JARA — Centauri, a new high school for 300 students, is the replacement for the original Centauri High School built in the early 1950s. Located south of La Jara, the school serves students from a wide geographic area. 

Despite the decaying conditions of the original school, the North Conejos School District achieved one of the highest academic standings in the state and boasts a graduation rate of 98 percent. Most of its students receive scholarships. 

The project is being built on a phased, fast-track schedule in coordination with Bradbury Stamm Construction. Many design and material options were explored by the owner, architect and construction management team to provide a high-quality, long-lasting new facility for the North Conejos School District. 

In 2019, when the student body learned there would be a new school, they tossed their mortarboards into the air. This year, the ceremonies showed off the after-effects of the pandemic, the speeches were inspirational and some of the 1955 grads had grandchildren graduating from this school. 

This year, 2021, they knew a new school was coming and they were the last ones to graduate from time-honored Centauri, but they would always be Falcons. 

Mostly outdoors, the commencement ceremonies took place at the school, the drive-in theater in Monte Vista, and online, though the online version has been taken down. 

The new school will be located on the same site as the existing Centauri High School, Centauri Middle School and the district’s administration offices. 

It currently has 296 students in grades 7 through 12. Centauri High School is the 252nd largest public high school in Colorado and the 14,799th largest nationally. 

The existing school needs to remain operational during the construction of the replacement school and the limited area of the site directed the location of the new school. Presenting a fresh face on the site for the students and the community, the new school is a modern contrast to the older construction that will remain. 

Divided into two parts by a large, open lobby, the school creates separate academic and athletic wings, each with its own personality. The classrooms and class labs are created for flexibility so the instructors can combine lectures and group work. 

The school will be fully outfitted with electronic equipment for each classroom and the school’s infrastructure is designed to match. 

The athletic wing is sized for the large crowds the community is known for, and an additional auxiliary gym for the many practices the district holds for teams of each sex was requested for and granted by the state.