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Innovative Education at Its Best: The Impact Career and Innovation Center
By Elizabeth Miller

Motorists on Main Avenue may have noticed the construction of a sleek new building expanding next to Durango High School over the summer. With the community’s approval of Bond 4A in 2020, the Impact Career Innovation Center (Impact CIC) will be a new home for School District 9-R’s career and technical education programming. Set to open in January of 2024, the beautiful space is laid out to support collaboration and innovation, including computer labs, maker spaces, pitch rooms, sustainable features, and creative spaces that empower students to take charge of their educational journeys and find careers that support passions and interests.

Focusing on career and technical education pathways, student leadership organizations, K-12 learning, and community and district events, the Impact CIC provides a central hub of innovation and community collaboration. “The Impact Center is part of what we call the ‘educonomy’,” Kricket Lewis, Career and Technical Education Coordinator at Durango 9-R said. “We want to foster real work experience and entrepreneurial skills, but more importantly a collaboration with our Durango community businesses and local entrepreneurs.”

The Impact CIC provides more exposure for students to industry professionals, internships, apprenticeships, and connection to Durango’s businesses for students to refine their skills and embrace the design process. Career and Technical Education provides students a chance to develop practical skills and contribute positively to the Durango community. There are 13 pathways students can pursue including business management and marketing, agriculture, early childhood education, computer and digital technologies, design and multimedia arts, hospitality and food production, construction trades, and health sciences among many others.

Led by 9-R’s guiding principal of Portrait of a Graduate competencies, students can pursue what they love, but also find ways to sustain a living and contribute to the community. The Impact Center provides exposure to different career paths, businesses, and trades with a beautiful space that invites engagement and connection. “Imagine a learning journey where innovation meets practicality – that is Career and Technical Education. It’s a launchpad that propels our students into the realm of high-paying, high-skill, and high-demand careers. CTE seamlessly blends classroom learning with real-life savvy, equipping our students with both technical prowess and adaptable skills essential for excelling in the ever-changing modern workplace,” Lewis explained.

The Durango community will have several avenues to contribute. “We are excited to partner with businesses and members of the community as we move forward,” Lewis said. For more information on how to get involved, contact Kricket Lewis at [email protected].

Durango school district 9-R invites community members to the Impact CIC’s grand opening in January to celebrate the achievements of local builders, innovative educators, and most importantly, our students. For more information on the Impact Career Innovation Center and updates on the grand opening, visit

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