The Neenan Company Completes Innovative Design-Build Project for Mapleton Public Schools
Colorado-based fully integrated design-build firm The Neenan Company recently completed the architecture and construction work on Valley View Innovation School, located at 6951 Fox Way in Denver. The project is the firm’s 18th project with Mapleton Public Schools and is one of the firm’s most innovative yet — embracing flexibility, choice and creativity in a unique learning environment.
The 60,000-square-foot redevelopment transformed the Valley View school, originally constructed in 1959 to serve grades K-5, into a project-based learning environment. The new school building also offers important features absent from the original building, including a gym, cafeteria, art room, science rooms, music room and preschool classrooms. Students will build their academic year around three or more engaging multidisciplinary projects that rigorously address Colorado academic standards. The school brings to life Mapleton’s newest learning model where, as opposed to the traditional zoning structure, parents can choose among each school’s educational approach to determine the environment that best supports their children.
To achieve this outcome, Neenan divided the school into three pods, each with four flexible classrooms, as well as two immersion studios with a lab-like structure for robotics, technology, culinary arts, arts, music and science.
The built-in flexibility created spaces that are malleable yet functional. The design’s universality invites students to creatively engage in the project-based program, with freedom for the projects to evolve throughout the school year, without constraints.
“The transformation of Valley View Innovation School will help empower students to steer their educational experiences, developing a lifelong appreciation for curiosity and active learning,” said Brian Carnahan, architect with The Neenan Company. “Mapleton’s visionary choice-based model showcases what we believe is possible for the future of educational facilities when we focus on the individual needs of students and their various learning styles. At the core of each of our education projects is our ability to transform our client’s visions into realities in order to elevate communities.”
Additional features Neenan incorporated into the design of Valley View included an all-in-one lobby/reception area to feature student presentations; a multifunctional rec center featuring parkour equipment allowing students to help drive the curriculum; a half court for traditional gym elements; and large overhead doors opening onto a covered outdoor space for use during the school year.
Valley View also features an improved pick-up/drop-off area for students, cafeteria, and library/media center with a broadcast lab. Additionally, the project expanded the school’s capacity to now offer pre-K classes, with Valley View previously beginning with kindergarten students.
Neenan began construction on the project following the closing of Valley View at the end of the 2018-2019 school year. The project was made possible by a 2016 community-supported bond and partially funded with a $17 million Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) grant from the state of Colorado.
Neenan has a long history with Mapleton Public Schools, serving as the design-build partner for many school projects with the district since 2005. With a track record of more than 120 school projects, Neenan helps communities address their individual education needs via bond campaigns, master plans, BEST grant applications, architecture, interior design and construction.