RTA Architects Chosen to Design Two New Academy District 20 Schools

CO Springs

Colorado Springs, CORTA Architects, an award-winning Colorado Springs-based architectural and interior design firm that specializes in education, healthcare, retail, community, and commercial properties, is pleased to announce that it has been chosen to lead the designs of the new School in the Woods and the Middle School at Chinook Trail for Academy School District 20. These are two of the first new schools that are being designed and constructed as a result of the District’s $230M bond passage in November 2016.

The Middle School at Chinook Trail

The Middle School at Chinook Trail will be the ninth middle school for the District and will be located on the campus of the existing Chinook Trail Elementary School. The 125,000 square-foot sustainable, energy-efficient, and healthy learning-focused facility will provide 21 st Century educational environments to accommodate 1,000 students and is being built in conjunction with Bryan Construction and MOA Architecture. The project will be an expansion of the Chinook Trail Elementary program, featuring close collaboration between the two schools to create a Kindergarten through eighth grade campus.

RTA’s Brian Calhoun, principal-in-charge of the Middle School at Chinook Trail project, commented, “Our firm includes residents, student parents, and spouses of District employees, so we are honored to be working with Academy School District 20. While our educational facility design has taken us across the state, we are especially excited to again be working with one of the premiere Colorado Springs school districts to continue to strengthen this great city we call home.”

The School in the Woods

The new 14,000-square-foot School in the Woods will replace four existing modular buildings and will increase student capacity and continue to support its robust community outreach program and home school academy. Flexible learning suites, a nature center, outdoor learning spaces, and a library/technology commons will support the School’s academically challenging “naturalist” based curriculum for fourth grade students.

Working with GE Johnson Construction Company, the design goal of the new building will be to achieve net zero energy and/or LEED Platinum while existing in harmony with the Black Forest environment. “We are thrilled to be working with Academy School District 20 on creating a new facility that supports the School in the Woods mission and demonstrates the school’s commitment to conservation and sustainability,” said Doug Abernethy, RTA principal-in-charge of the School in the Woods project. “It is a program unlike any other in the District, the state, and possibly even in the nation. Our team is also looking forward to using the entire design and construction process as a teaching tool for the naturalists, allowing them to see first-hand the components and processes that go into creating a sustainable facility.”

Both projects are currently in the design and preconstruction planning phases. Construction of the new School in the Woods is estimated to be completed in the spring of 2018. The Middle School at Chinook Trail is expected to be completed for the 2019 -2020 school year.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.


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