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Students from 2 schools bring new life to Denver’s old Smiley Middle School building

Students crowd hall at old Smiley Middle School building in Denver

Students crowd hall at old Smiley Middle School building in Denver

DENVER — The Smiley Campus on Holly Street is having some new life breathed into it.

In the past couple of years, Smiley Middle School was only drawing a very small percentage of kids from Park Hill, which is why the district decided to shut down the under-achieving school.

But, with McAuliffe Middle/Elementary School in Stapleton bursting at the seams, moving that school into Park Hill became a very interesting opportunity.

“We just thought it made sense to put the historic Smiley School building to use,” said Principal Kurt Dennis. “The old Smiley only drew about 18 percent of the kids here in Park Hill, this year that number is in the 70th percentile.”

McAuliffe brings 750 kids to one-half of the building; Venture Prep High will hold classes in the other half.

The district hopes to make the new campus a real neighborhood school, one kids can walk and bike to. But on opening day they quickly found out they need three times the number of bike racks, as dozens of kids rode their bikes to school.

Plans call for a new outdoor theatre complex behind the school with a stage and tree lined grassy area for kids to eat lunch and take classes in when weather permits.

As workers finish up renovations, kids will share the hallways at the new Smiley Campus on Holly Street, now home to more than 1,000 students ready to learn!