When Tavelli was built in 1968, the school had only two tracks, about 110 kids, and no “B” pod. It has changed a lot. Until B Pod was finished, the first and second graders attended classes at the old Rocky Ridge School on Highway 1 and County Road 56. Tavelli initially had 30,181 square feet. Since then Tavelli has doubled its original size. In 1971 the northeast classrooms added another 10,000 square feet; in 1989 media and storage contributed another 2,956 square feet; and in 1993 a classroom addition of 19,400 square feet was added. Now Tavelli has a total area of 62,537 square feet. The cost when Tavelli was first built in 1968 was about $800,000. The most recent additions cost $1.3 million. Now a school of its current size would cost about $9,000,000 to build.
Soon after Tavelli first opened it was determined that the building should have been build where the playground is and the playground where the building is. The hill leading up to the playground created problems. It was very hard to keep it from being a mess of mud when it rained. First, old wooden boards were placed on the mud, but that didn’t work. Next, gravel was tried. When that didn’t work either, it was removed. Finally, the PTO sodded the hill with their own money.
The playground has changed over the years. At first there was little play equipment with old telephone poles used for swings. Later the old Plumber School fire escape was added for a slide. Then in 1994 the whole playground was redesigned. The local community worked to finance and build Tiger World and the Fitness Center.
The area around Tavelli has changed significantly. Early Fort Collins had a trolley that went from downtown to a recreation area at Lindenmier Lake. When the school was first built, there was mainly open land with a few houses nearby and the Lindenwood and Nedrah Acres developments. A herd of buffalo grazed around Lindenmier Lake where the Linden Lake houses now are. That buffalo herd was a real problem for Mr. Long, Tavelli’s first principal. The buffalo would get out, and the city people would call Mr. Long. They thought he owned the buffalo so they would call him in the middle of the night to report that his buffalo were loose. The problem with this was that the buffalo weren’t really his, so he would wake up in the middle of the night for nothing. One time when the children were going home and getting on the bus the owner of the buffalo butchered a buffalo out in the open, and everyone saw. In the buffalo herd there was also a mean bull. When kids would walk to school through the pasture the bull would get mad.
The Nature Center was all Mrs. Bath’s idea. There were difficulties, so she had to talk to the soil conservation center and the environment protection agency before she could plant anything. Originally there was going to be a small pond. When Mrs. Bath had just planted the trees, she, not the janitor, had to water them by hand. When Mrs. Bath retired, the district didn’t know what to do about the watering of the trees. So they decided to put in a sprinkler system.
Miss Anna Tavelli was an interesting person in many ways. For one thing, she and her students would put on puppet plays with marionettes that she made herself. Another was that she always had a class pet. Yet another was that she always called people by their last names. Last, she loved to attend the singing programs held at Tavelli.
Mr. Long, the first principal at Tavelli, nominated Anna Tavelli to be the namesake of the school for several reasons. One was that she was a very dedicated teacher for over three decades. She was at school by 6:00 each morning and she didn’t go home until 6:00 at night. Another reason was that Miss Tavelli’s students admired her and respected her. She made her classes interesting so that they enjoyed being at school.
Miss Tavelli has taught at a couple of different places. First, she taught in Boulder County for ten years. After that she moved to Fort Collins and taught fifth grade at Remington School for twenty-eight years. She also became a head teacher there.
Miss Tavelli participated in several extra-curricular activities. She was director of the P.T.A. Mothers’ Chorus at Remington School for a long time. She was also a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, an honor teachers’ sorority; the local, state, and national teachers’ associations; and the Business and Professional Women’s Club.
Anna Tavelli was born in Castle Gate, Utah. She was from a family with nine children, seven boys and two girls. At the age of two, the family moved to Lafayette, Colorado, where she grew up, received her education, and graduated from high school. She earned a B.A. degree and took post graduate training at Colorado State College in Greeley, Colorado.
Miss Tavelli was interested in many things. She loved children, art, and music. As part of her background in music, she received vocal training at Lamot School of Music, which is now part of the University of Denver.