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A dual-language K-12 school fronting Federal Boulevard in the Highlands has listed its 21,000-square-foot home of the past two decades for $3.95 million after losing its contract with Denver Public Schools.
Escuela Tlatelolco will not reopen next fall at 2949 Federal Blvd., after DPS pulled a contract accounting for 75 percent of its funding in June 2016.
“We have to sell the building to take care of all the liabilities we have,” said Jesse Ogas, who has been on the school’s board for 13 years. “Once those are done, we are regrouping. We are asking: What would a sustainable model be?”
The building on half an acre was first listed May 10 for $4.25 million and was reduced to $3.95 million, or $188 per square foot, on June 4. Listing agent Dennis McLin with McLin Commercial said the schoolhouse, which sits on a property zoned for mixed-use and three stories maximum, likely will be re-purposed rather than razed because of its price.
“The location is central. It can morph into anything it needs to be – medical office, retail, could be a church, could be a school. You never know,” McLin said.
He is co-listing the property with Joaquin Gonzales, a residential real estate broker with Fenice Partners.
The sale is one sign of how the neighborhood has changed since Escuela Tlatelolco’s founding.
Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales, a leader of the social justice movement Crusade for Justice, started Escuela Tlatelolco in 1971. His daughter, Nita, later took over and relocated it to Federal Boulevard. Escuela Tlatelolco bought its current building, previously St. Dominic’s Elementary School, in 1995 for $610,000.
The school relied on community support and grants early on, Ogas said, but lost many private donors after it contracted with DPS.
“For years there was a lot of going back and forth with (DPS about) achievement scores based on testing,” Ogas said. “DPS felt that the academic strides of our students weren’t where they needed to be. Many of these students were students that failed in DPS, but were able to graduate from Escuela and go on to college and get their degrees.”
Real estate prices have risen recently in the neighborhood surrounding Escuela Tlatelolco. And the school, like many Spanish-speaking families it served, has decided to cash in and sell its property.
“We had discussed selling the building and moving because the community demographic was changing,” Ogas said.
Escuela Tlatelolco may yet reopen, albeit in a different zip code. Ogas hopes it can meet current students where many live: Aurora, southwest Denver or Adams County.