GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (D51) — New Emerson STEAM School is set to break ground on a new, STEAM-themed community playground in May thanks to a $190,495 from the Colorado Health Foundation!
New Emerson, a K-5 public STEM/STEAM magnet school located in the underserved Orchard Mesa neighborhood, was founded 26 years ago by long-time educator and current principal Terry Barrientos Schmalz. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math.
The campus was the first STEAM magnet school in D51, and the STEAM-themed playground will be a first on Orchard Mesa.
“Our school’s mission is to build positive relationships, create self-directed, interdependent, empathetic, creative thinkers with a growth mindset, and we believe this playground can be a bridge between our school’s vision and the physical needs of the local neighborhood community,” Schmalz said.
The new playground will replace decades-old metal play pieces and reimagine a currently empty grassy field.
“We are so excited to receive this grant,” she said. “Our goal is that the funding for the project would provide local families with an interactive, STEAM-focused playground and a safe outdoor community space.”
“Without a doubt, our state and local partnerships have been essential to the success of our school. We are grateful to the Colorado Health Foundation, the John McConnell Eureka Science Center, the New Emerson PTO, the GJ Lions Club, and so many other community businesses who continue to back the work we are doing at New Emerson and in the Orchard Mesa community,” Schmalz added.