RTA Architects Receives National Recognition from the Association for Learning Environments

Lake City Community School exterior, courtesy of RTA.

RTA Architects, an award-winning Colorado Springs-based architectural and interior design firm, was recently recognized with an LEsolutions Planning and Design Award from the Association for Learning Environments (A4LE), one of the Association’s highest honors, for its design of the Lake City Community School (Hinsdale County School District RE-1, Lake City, Colorado) in the Renovation/Major Addition category. The award was presented at A4LE’s national LearningSCAPES conference in Denver.

A4LE’s LEsolutions Awards recognize learning environments that positively impact teaching and learning and are a result of a thorough planning process. Award-winning projects show stimulation of systemic change in the educational system, embodiment of leading-edge architectural design solutions, and incorporation of an interactive process that engages multiple stakeholders during the planning phase.

RTA’s design of the renovation and addition for the Lake City Community School was among just two winners in its category. The 2021 LEsolutions Planning and Design Award competition drew 39 entries in total from architectural firms across the United States showcasing projects from coast to coast and China. Projects were rated by individual jury members based on the following criteria:

  • School and community research and engagement
  • Educational environment design
  • Physical environment design
  • Planning process and project results
  • Sustainability and wellness

The Lake City Community School renovation and addition included a full interior renovation; construction of a Gymnasium addition; critical safety, security, and HVAC upgrades; construction of a Career and Technical Education (CTE) classroom; construction of a commercial kitchen to support a hot lunch program and culinary arts classes; and the addition of a nurse’s room.  Lake City played a key role in the development of the American West, and residents of this remote mountain town have diligently preserved their history and ever-evolving frontier culture. RTA worked closely with the Town Board of Trustees and the county Historical Society to ensure the character of the design reflected the feel of the National Register Historic District in which the school is located, as well as the stunning natural beauty of Hinsdale County.

Jurors recognized RTA’s reflection of the character of the historic school site and of Lake City region in the design, “This project demonstrates that a well-designed addition to an existing structure can meet the goals of a school and the community in which it is located.” “Thoughtful and flexible design solution. Respectful renovation to honor the past.” Another juror commented on RTA’s efforts to fully involve the public during the planning phase, “Thorough community engagement to develop a major transformation.”

Rebecca Hall, M.A. Ed, superintendent/principal of the Lake City Community School noted the impact of the design on the Lake City community, “What I’ve realized the most with this renovation/addition is that a facility can really drive and change educational planning for students (for instance the Career Technical Education Classroom), community outreach (our community plays Pickleball every week on our sports court while the weather is nice), and the beauty and pride our building brings to our community!”

The LEsolutions Award for the Lake City Community School Renovation and Addition is the first national award for education design received by RTA from A4LE and the second design award for the project (A4LE’s Rocky Mountain Chapter awarded the project its 2020 Summit Design Award for Excellence in Renovation Design).

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