Table of Contents
The students of Widefield School District 3 are served by two preschools, eight K-5 elementary schools, a K-5 charter school, three 6-8 junior high schools, two 9-12 high schools, and an alternative high school. District enrollment totals over 9,500 students. Productivity in education comes through people. We invest in our staff and schools to benefit our greatest resource -- our students.
Widefield School District 3 (WSD3) is a vibrant community tucked away in the southeast side of Colorado Springs. Our climate and culture gives a comforting small-town feel in a big city environment. Widefield is a place you come to learn, live, and play!
Security/Widefield is the largest unincorporated area in Colorado. District 3 takes on many of the functions which are normally performed by municipal governments.
The district is governed by a five-member Board of Education, members of which are elected on an at-large basis for four-year terms.WSD3 manages Widefield Parks and Recreation, formerly known as the Widefield Community Center. Last year, Widefield Parks and Recreation provided numerous community education and recreation activities for more than 56,000 people. The district also oversees the Security Public Library and has built trails and parks in our area for the citizens of our school district.
WSD3 annually ranks first or second in Colorado in graduation rates for African-American students and in the upper third in Colorado in graduation rates for Hispanic students.
The people who live, work and raise their families in our district make living here special. You can appreciate the small-town feel of this community. Set in a 59 square mile area, the largest populated unincorporated area in Colorado, Widefield/Security has all advantages of being adjacent to Colorado Springs, a city of 450,000. We're also just an hour's drive to Denver.
Located where the High Plains meet the Rocky Mountains, the Widefield/Security area has an elevation approximately 5,400 feet high and a moderate climate boasting average of 310 days of sunshine each year. The region's proximity to Colorado Springs, Fort Carson, Peterson Air Force Base, Schriever Air Force Base and NORAD makes it an ideal place for both military and civilian personnel. A number of the world's best ski resorts are a short trip away and there's an impressive range of recreational opportunities available in the nearby mountains.
Quality of Life
A recent survey by the American Lung Association gave our region an "A" for air quality. Famous as a health resort in the era before modern medicine, the Pikes Peak Region is a popular vacation destination today. Compared with the national averages, a higher proportion of our population chooses fitness, exercise and a healthy lifestyle. Our community's location and rural setting make it a refuge from the stress and hectic pace of city life.
Widefield Parks and Recreation offers numerous opportunities to residents in our community including: youth and adult sports programs, indoor and outdoor swimming, volleyball, tennis, community education classes, and early childhood education. The newly-updated Security Public Library provides easy access to reading materials for learning and enjoyment as well as Internet access on public computer terminals.
Weather & Climate
Our location in southern El Paso County makes for a comfortable mid-point between the extremes in Colorado weather -- cold, snowy winters to the north and searing hot summers to the south. Our community enjoys an annual average snowfall of just 26 inches. Average winter low temperatures are in the high 20's and summer highs are in the mid 80's. Low humidity and sunny skies help make daytime outdoor activities possible all year long.
Our Natural Environment
From our area's highest elevations -- above the Big Johnson Reservoir and Blue Stem Prairie land preserve -- one can see the length of South Front Range: north from the Palmer Divide and Black Forest to the Spanish Peaks far in the south. The white-capped Sangre De Cristo mountains soar to the southwest. Prominent views of Pikes Peak, Cheyenne Mountain and the rolling foothills surrounding Fort Carson are the norm in our area.
Open space surrounds our community with an exceptional mix of wetlands, river valley and plains. It is a place where, not far away, horses run, cattle graze and white-tailed antelope play on the prairie. Waterfowl, raptors and other wildlife exist in their natural habitat. The Fountain Valley is a hotspot for birding, where over 260 species have been observed during migrations. Our beautiful ecosystem is also characterized by towering cottonwood trees, fields of Spanish Bayonet Yucca, and colorful prairie flowers and grasses.
The Widefield/Security area features a blend of comfortable, established neighborhoods and newer, contemporary developments with a wide range of choices in affordably-priced housing. Both long-time residents and young families contribute to a healthy sense of diversity in our community. It's wonderful how many generations within our area have attended Widefield school and returned to raise their own families.
Widefield School District is also home to many parks adjacent to schools and neighborhoods that offer large open greens, playgrounds, picnic pavilions and ball parks.
- Bartell Park: At Janitell Junior High north of Fountain Mesa Road and Mesa Ridge Parkway
- Barnstormers Park: Daredevil Drive
- Talbott Park: At Talbott Elementary, Dean Drive and Fordham Street
- Windmill Mesa Park: Bradley Road and Marabou Way
- Pi-Ute Park: At Main Street and Holly Drive
Nearby Parks & Open Space
Big Johnson/Blue Stem Prairie
Encompassing 650 acres of prairie surrounding the Big Johnson Reservoir, this land is a bird watcher's paradise! The preserve is a refuge for many species of native wildlife and vegetation. Located northwest of Fontaine Blvd. and Powers Blvd.
Fountain Creek Regional Park
Running along a 2.5 mile length of Fountain Creek, this park is home to an wonderful variety of wildlife including great blue heron beaver, muskrat, red fox, wild turkey, and over 230 species of birds. Tall cottonwood trees tower above walking trails and birding blinds. Next to the nature preserve is a recreation area with playgrounds and picnic pavilions offer a special venue for family fun. Located on Cattail Marsh Rd. south of Mesa Ridge Pkwy. & Hwy 85/87.
Fountain Creek Nature Center
A place for discovery, this oasis within the Fountain Creek Regional Park features interpretive programs, exhibits and self-guided tours through a marsh ecosystem rich with aquatic life, wild birds and migratory fowl. Located on Cattail Marsh Rd. south of Mesa Ridge Pkwy. & Hwy 85/87.
Widefield Community Park
Home to one of Colorado's finest disc golf courses, the park also includes a stream side walking trail, softball field, tennis and basketball courts, playground, and gazebo. Located at Fontaine Blvd. and Drury Lane.
A Brief History
The Fountain Valley area has been settled since the late 1850s. For several generations, it was populated by only a handful of pioneering families who farmed and ranched along Fountain Creek. Our rich agricultural heritage is reflected in several of the schools in Widefield School District 3 that are named for these families: Janitell, Pinello, and Venetucci.
On August 20, 1874, Widefield School District 3 was organized as the third school district in El Paso County, Colorado. The area included over 220 square miles and stretched east to the Lincoln County line.
In 1887, Widefield separated into its own schools. The Widefield School, (located at the junction of present-day Pueblo Road and Southmoor Drive), held class for twelve students. The school was heated by a pot-bellied stove; melted snow was the source of water in winter. Ute Indians were known to sometimes peer into the classroom's windows.
For many years school was held in a small two-room school house built in 1912, near U.S. Highway 85/87. Later renamed the Kittie Paster School, the old yellow school still stands today on Southmoor Drive, just south of the highway.
The sprawling district changed little in the years leading to the big boom that hit the area after World War II. In 1953, developers bought the Mel Anderson Dairy Farm, which in time became the community of Security. Widefield School District had about 125 students in 1954. Until Security's first model homes were built in 1955, the area held sway to only "blow sand", prickly pear, bull snakes and cholla cactus. The size of the school district was 45 square miles.
A bond issue election was unanimously passed by district's residents in 1955 to meet the educational needs of a growing community. Mr. James A. Talbott was hired as Superintendent of Schools. Enrollment totaled 240 first through sixth grade students with a staff of ten teachers. Until, (and even after) Widefield Elementary opened, six residences on Hackberry Drive were used as temporary classrooms. By the close of year, six more teachers were added and total enrollment was 550 children, with 85 more students attending Fountain School District.
Widefield School District 3 grew at a fantastic rate of 300 percent in three years, during which North and South (later Venetucci) elementary schools were built. Widefield High School opened as well, with 27 students in the first graduating class of 1959. S.A. Wilson Elementary and Sproul Junior High were completed in December 1959. District enrollment at the beginning the 1959-60 school year was 2,600 students. There were 103 teaching staff members.
Also during this period, a new development named after the school district began to take shape south of Security. Widefield Homes was launched in 1957, developing the areas to the north and south of Fontaine Boulevard during the 1960s. In September 1962, enrollment was 4,126 students and instructional personnel totaled 177. J.A. Talbott Elementary opened in the new Widefield subdivision. Watson Junior High opened its doors in the spring of 1964.
In 1963, the population of Security was 14,000. New homes were also developed in the Stratmoor Valley area. Pinello Elementary was opened nearby in 1964. During 1966, the library and park and recreation staff moved into a new complex on Aspen Drive.
At the close of the 1966-67 school year, the student population totaled 6,434. Webster Elementary was completed in November 1969. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary opened in 1973. Janitell Junior High opened in 1974 and end-of-school enrollment in the district was 7,938. The beginning enrollment for the 1974-75 school year was 7,233. In 1978, the Security Park and Recreation District was assimilated into the school district. A new administration building was completed in 1979.
Beginning enrollment in September 1981 was 6,383. In the mid-eighties, new housing was being developed new areas of the district: Colorado Centre, Pheasant Run, Clearview, Copperfield, Sunrise Ridge and Bradley Ranch. About 1,000 new homes were built within an eighteen month period.
In 1985, South Elementary was renamed to honor the Venetucci family. Sunrise Elementary opened in 1986. Opening enrollment for the 1986-87 school year was 6,833 and there were 469 graduating seniors in May. The Alternative High School Program was implemented the following year with sixty students in classes held the old administration building. In 1987, French Elementary was opened in Security.
New traditions began in our district when a second high school, Mesa Ridge, was completed in 1997. During the late 1990's, new growth was realized as homes were built in Windmill Mesa, Fountain Valley Ranch and Sunrise Terrace. The latest addition to our district, a public charter elementary school, opened in 2002 and is now known as James Madison Charter Academy.
Nearly 150 years after the first permanent settlers arrived in our community, the future of public education in Widefield School District 3 has never been brighter.
1874 Widefield School District 3 founded to include three communities: Widefield, Drennan and Tructon 1912 Widefield (Kittie Paster) School opened near Highway 85/87 1942 Camp Carson opened west of Widefield 1951 Widefield School District 3, as we know it today, organized 1955 First homes built in "Security Village" 1955 J.A. Talbott hired as Superintendent 1955 Widefield Elementary opened 1956 North Elementary opened 1957 Venetucci (South) Elementary opened 1958 Widefield High School opened 1958 Widefield Homes development begins 1959 Richard Taylor hired as Superintendent after unexpected death of J.A. Talbott 1959 S.A. Wilson Elementary opened (now pre-school and Special Education) 1959 Sproul Junior High opened 1960 Security Metropolitan Park & Recreation District formed 1961 District Administration Building opened (now Discovery High School) 1962 C.A. Foster Stadium built at WHS 1963 Talbott Elementary opened 1963 Development of Stratmoor Valley began 1964 Pinello Elementary opens 1964 Watson Junior High opens 1966 Community Center complex opens new library and recreation facilities 1969 Dr. C.F. Clemmer hired as Superintendent 1969 Webster Elementary opens 1970 WHS auditorium completed 1973 Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary opened 1973 Dr. A.J. Bredall hired as Superintendent 1973 Old Widefield School renamed the Kittie Paster School 1973 Peaceful Valley Estates developed 1973 Janitell Junior High opened 1974 New WHS Gymnasium completed 1978 Security Park and Recreation District assimilated into WSD3 1978 Dr. James Knox hired as Superintendent 1979 Current Administration Building opens 1981 Dr. Leonard (Bud) Bartel hired as Superintendent 1986 Sunrise Elementary opened 1987 Alternative High School opened (now Discovery High School) 1987 French Elementary opened 1991 Gene Cosby hired as Superintendent 1997 Mesa Ridge High School opened 2001 Dr. Mark Hatchell hired as Superintendent 2002 WSD3 is the only school district in the state to pass a mill levy override. Thank you community! 2005 Widefield Elementary School celebrates its 50th birthday. 2007 Stan Richardson hired as Superintendent 2008 New Transportation Center completed 2010 Joe Royer hired as Superintendent 2014 Scott Campbell hired as Superintendent