ILC Renovates East Courtyard

With the help of student volunteers, the project hopes to be finished by next fall.


Madison Seckman

Students and teachers work to help an ILC student because he can’t go down the ramp installed in the East Courtyard. The ramp cost around $5000. “We still need to put in a pathway as one of our students in a wheelchair got stuck today,” Canham said. “All of our students worked together to organize stones so that his wheelchair could make the clearance.” Continued renovations to the East Courtyard are expected to cost thousands of dollars.

Gabby Clark and Lydia Foster

The ILC* program has been working on renovations in the East Courtyard in order to teach ILC students life skills while also making the courtyard more accessible for all students. The process of renovation started in November of last year and is well underway.

“I wanted to create an opportunity where students in our ILC program can work alongside typical peers in an inclusive way,” said Katheryn Canham, the Special Education Teacher in the ILC program. “My hope is that students in the ILC program can develop meaningful relationships with students throughout the campus and be a larger presence throughout Cherry Creek High School.”

Canham believes that regular interaction with Gen Ed students** in a safe setting can help ILC students develop socially.

“Because of social skills deficits and cognitive function, meaningful friendships can be difficult for them to develop even though they want the same meaningful friendships as everyone else,” she said. “Some [Gen Ed] peers have joined our programs such as Open Arms Club [and] ILC Prom, and have really advocated for our kiddos to be more included throughout the campus.”

The outcome of the renovation is also meant to help ILC students. Over spring break, Activities Director Krista Keogh helped secure funding from the district for a ramp to be installed in the courtyard to make the space more accessible for students with wheelchairs.

“They have been wanting to use the space for their classes for a while, so we are trying to help make that a reality,” Keogh said.

The program has also been cultivating a new garden, as well as restoring plants that are already there. According to Canham, they also have plans to install tables for studying and a hammock.

“This space has been neglected for a long time,” Canham said. “We hope to create an inviting space where students can study or relax.”

Some students look forward to having the new space to relax during their downtime.

“It’s not just for students in the ILC program but anyone who just needs a space to decompress and spend some time during the day,” freshman Kimaya Kini, a student involved in the project through Student Senate, said. 

Due to the weather getting warmer, the group has recently strengthened efforts to get more volunteers from different clubs such as NHS and senate. 

“Hopefully students from our ILC department will get to enjoy the space, while also learning valuable life skills,” Keogh said. “They also will get to spend some time outdoors.”

However, this project has slowed down since they still need to raise money to make the wanted changes. Even with the $1,500 they raised from the Chipotle Fundraiser and the Special Olympics Polar Plunge, they still don’t have enough.

We are getting a quote for the [pathway] to make the space fully ADA accessible***, but I would imagine it will be several thousand dollars,” Canham said.

If students would like to help with renovations, they can join the remind @eastcourt, or email [email protected].

*ILC: An educational program where CCHS students with disabilities take steps toward self-reliance.
**Gen-Ed students: Students outside of the ILC.
***ADA accessible: Compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design.