Boulder Valley School District

Things sometimes go bump in the night in BVSD

Mapleton Early Childhood Center in an artistic rendering of a photo
Randy Barber
Photo of students from the 1800s at Mapleton Elementary School

Walking around the Mapleton Early Childhood Center in the old Mapleton Hill neighborhood of Boulder, you can get a sense of the building’s history. The school house which was originally built in 1888 and refurbished in 2013, still has a number of its original features, including its facade, tin ceilings and and stone quarried from Lyons. In the hallways are sepia photos of students who attended the school soon after it opened 130 years ago and the old school bell that would call them to class. 

“The history piece is really great and the location, it is beautiful,” said Mapleton teacher Eliza Kraham.

Kraham and other staff members say they love the historic schoolhouse’s charm and character during the day, but they do everything they can to avoid working alone in the century-old building after dark. 

A hallway at the modern day Mapleton Early Childhood Center.

We don’t blame them. 

Some of the incidents they’ve experienced, would make anyone want to call the Ghostbusters.

RELATED: Frights not limited to the haunted house at Boulder High School

“It was fine, until I started working by myself,” explained Kraham. 

She was in a room on the third floor of Mapleton, when she had her first encounter.

“I was just working late and the lights went off,” she continued. “I thought it was just the sensor, so I got up and moved my arms around and nothing was happening. I turned the switch back on, because that usually triggers the lights to come back on and nothing. Nothing happened. Then, I just felt like really scared. Then my computer started acting up. I was like, ‘ok, I think it is time for me to go home or go work downstairs.’”

Now, if she has to work late, she usually hangs out in the school’s office, so that she is around others.

A hallway at Mapleton Early Childhood Center

Some of the eerie instances started shortly after the Early Childhood team moved into the building in 2019, following the bond work. Staff members have reported that an unseen force has nearly pushed over desks, tipped over cups of coffee and slowly opened drawers of a heavy filing cabinet. An employee working alone in the building, heard voices coming from another room – but when she went to check, no one was there. 

A couple of weeks ago, ECE team members say they were in the middle of a conversation when they heard a very loud noise. They went room-to-room, thinking that perhaps a bookshelf had fallen – but everything was exactly where it was supposed to be.

“I know there are a few teachers that have told me their stories, but I really wish they wouldn’t,” said Kraham. “The ghost part really scares me.”

The Mapleton staff have nicknamed the aberration Georgia, because they found that name written on a whiteboard upstairs.

Students pose for a photo at their desk at Mapleton Elementary School in the 1800s.

“Kaylee came back from summer break and saw the name “Georgia” written on one of the whiteboards. It was a childish print,” explained Lucia Cisneros. “She asked Saib, our Mapleton custodian, if his daughter had been here. Even though the writing was high on the board and there was no way a child reached without stepping on a chair. Saib said nobody had been in the building. Kaylee erased the word. To our surprise the letters reappeared. Yes, they did.

Early childhood coordinator Nichole Villa says she’s had a couple of brushes with Georgia.

“I was taking my kids out to recess and there was a silhouette of a face on the wall – like the sun was shining and you could see the nose and the angle of a face,” Villa said.

The strange thing is that there were no windows or other sources of light that could have cast the shadow. 

Theresa Clements and Kim Bloeman show former interim supt. Stevenson the school's historic bell.

Another incident happened after she and Theresa Clements, BVSD’s Director of Early Childhood Education, were cleaning up after a staff meeting. 

“We were the last ones in the building,” Villa shared. “We were downstairs near my classroom. We were talking and suddenly the toilet began flushing repeatedly. We stopped talking and I went to the one bathroom and pushed open the door and the light turned on. No flushing. I did the same thing for the boys and the light didn’t turn on, but there was a gust of wind and all the hair on my arm stood up and the toilet started flushing more rapidly.”

Who are you gonna call? Well, without the ability to call the Ghostbusters, they called BVSD Maintenance. The technician wasn’t able to find anything out of the ordinary.

Mapleton isn’t the only building where BVSD Maintenance has been called to check out paranormal activity. 

Louisville Middle School with an artistic filter on photo

Former principal and now Northwest Area Executive Director Ginny Vidulich says her staff at Louisville Middle School would occasionally report strange occurrences.

“The secretaries in the old office used to say the safe would open and things would be moved around in the safe room," Vidulich said. 

The office was remodeled in the bond project, but that did not scare the spook away.

“Lights would go on and off occasionally without cause and the electricians and inspectors could find no reason for it,” Vidulich said.

The good news, Vidulich added, is, “the spirit appears to be friendly.”


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