Education Projects

They used WHAT? On top of WHERE?

Architecture is widely known as a problem-solving profession. And sometimes, solving those problems means using materials or solutions one would never normally associate with design.

Like bowling balls, for example...

Yes, you read that correctly. Bowling balls! 

For the new Fountain Middle School in Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8, CRP was working to create an open, yet iconic commons stairway, inspired by the design currently in the Tivoli Student Union. As a focal point of one of the main school spaces, we knew it had to be unique and visually inviting.

However, the challenge in achieving this aesthetic was designing the rounded caps of the railing posts while staying in budget and avoiding extended lead times for fabrication. There was also the idea of incorporating a marbleized look to accent this monumental stair. But once again... budget. And as we all know, marble is not the cheapest of material options.

Working alongside our interior designers, Jean Sebben Associates, meant a creative solution was on the horizon. During a preliminary design meeting, Mike Esch, JSA's Design Director exclaimed, "What if we used bowling balls?". While not a common statement in our usual schematic planning discussions, no one could think of a reason of why NOT to use bowling balls. 

So here we are, over a year in the making...

As we wrap up the first phase of this full-building replacement project, we'd like to introduce the official Bowling Ball Capped Stair Rails featured at Fountain Middle School.

In collaboration with Brunswick, we selected a color blend (Patriot Blaze) that celebrated the school colors, red and blue. They ran a special order of non-logo bowling balls for use on this project alone. Each ball was carefully measured and cut for assembly atop the stair post's custom diameter. This also meant that there are no post caps like another, each one is individual in nature; a symbolism in acknowledging that no two students are the same, with each and every one bringing a unique character and light to the new facility.  Art C. Klein Construction worked meticulously in detailing and executing the full installation process. This intriguing touch definitely adds something special to the sense of pride and overall experience. And as Brunswick would agree, "Experience Is Everything".

Special thanks to: Jean Sebben Associates, Brunswick and Art C. Klein Construction

More pictures and information on the final project completion coming soon!

Phase I: Opening for 2018-2019 School Year

Phase II: Opening for 2019-2020 School Year

Bulls Lead The Way

As Falcon School District 49 continues to be one of the state's fastest growing school districts, there was no time to spare in planning the expansion of their facilities and the future of their community. With hundreds of new homes being built and new families moving into the district, it was time to face this growth head-on with the addition of a new elementary school. Along with other projects, this school is one of the included items in Falcon's "Building Our Future Community" campaign. This initiative was brought to life through the 3B mill levy override passed during the November 2016 election. With a nearly two-to-one passing ratio, the community truly stepped up, recognized the need for expansion and brought a whole new energy to the common phrase of grabbing the bull by the horns

Located North of the current Falcon Middle School, the empty lot below the water towers will be transformed into a brand new 63,800SF elementary school. Recently named Bennett Ranch Elementary, the new school will feature a centralized student commons with a performance stage, various flex-spaces including one for multi-media and learning exploration, academic pods organized by grade levels, an elementary-size gym, extra-curricular spaces and all new outdoor play areas. The district wanted a design that facilitated not only 21st century learning but a platform to explore 22nd century learning models. The materials and interiors scheme will reflect the school colors (gold and black) while integrating the color aesthetic of the Western plains, paying homage to the schools surrounding landscape. Wood, earth tones, local cultured block and vibrant pops of Colorado color will make for an inviting, engaging environment for learning. 

The school's name, approved by the school board in early August, was derived from the famous Bennett Ranches nearby in Peyton, CO. The founding brothers, Hugh and Ralph, were active rodeo champions and took great pride in upholding the pristine reputation of their cattle ranches. Hugh was even recognized in 2008 as one of the top 15 cowboys to shape Western culture. In honor of the Bennett legacy, the school's mascot has been chosen as a bull. And while the district is still working through iterations of what the final mascot will look like, we can still say, 'Go Bennett Ranch Bulls!' in the meantime. Aspects of the family history and various memorabilia will also be featured in the school's design. 

The school is scheduled to open for the 2018-2019 school year. The design phase was completed a month ahead of schedule with the preliminary costs coming in under-budget. This will allow the district to consider adding addition scope to enhance the overall outcome of the new facility. The site is also being master-planned for a future middle school addition which would eventually make Bennett Ranch a PreK-8th building. We celebrated the groundbreaking ceremony on August 24th, 2017 alongside our project contractor, GE Johnson. Below are some architectural renderings of the new elementary, as well as photos from the event.  

Groundbreaking Ceremony

Construction Progress | Completed July 2018 

Ribbon-cutting Ceremony

The Adventure begins...

Groundbreaking Ceremony for Mapleton Public School's new Adventure Elementary in Denver, CO

The ceremony was held on Tuesday, May 23rd and was open to the Mapleton community. Administration, students, staff, parents and even retired teachers who worked in the original facility attended the momentous event. The ROTC Color Guard from the high school began the afternoon with the presentation of colors. Spectators were given bubbles to blow during the dig. And while the chosen adult stakeholders performed the traditional dig with their golden shovels, a student panel was also selected to dig on behalf of their class (K-6), using personally decorated shovels to represent their various grade levels (below). At the ceremony's conclusion, students left with a coloring book page of their new school and a package of crayons provided by JHL Constructors and CRP Architects. To top off the fun, the district's superintendent, Charlotte Ciancio, decided to take a whirl at operating the backhoe onsite.

One of the most unique aspects of this ceremony was the poem read by a current 5th grader. With this being a replacement school, the poem talks about moving to a new place but still maintaining the heart of what the school means, a special place in the community:

A Moved School

The bricks, the roof, the earth below

The solid walls of what we know,

The space we fill, the scenery,

Does this make all this place can be?

The light and shade that once we sensed,

The whole community condensed

Into one whole familiar space

To what extent are we this place?

Or rather, are we hearts and minds

With bricks and mortar left behind?

The bonds we form, the friends we make

The things we need not pack to take,

The built up skills, the lessons learned,

The wealth of our respect, hard earned,

We are this school - both me and you,

And if we move, the school moves, too.

The Adventure still to come...

The new facility is a replacement building for the 1950s vintage Adventure Elementary School for Mapleton Public Schools. Mapleton has a commitment to raising expectations, providing choices for learning and removing obstacles for all students so that they can guarantee that each student is empowered to “achieve his or her dreams and contribute to his or her community, country and world”.

The new Adventure Elementary School will provide 60,500 square feet of layered learning spaces for their expeditionary learning curriculum for 500 students in grades PK– 6th. The aesthetics respond to the heritage of the people in the area it is being built in, which was historically home to the Colorado mining community. Natural & sustainable materials, as well as direct connections to the outdoors, were high priorities for the building since LEED/CHPS certification is an overarching project goal. Portions of the two-story building have been kept to one-story to maintain a more harmonious scale with the surrounding residential neighborhood. Covered porches with sloped metal roofs and dormer windows will have an inviting quality, welcoming the community to their new home. The project is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2018. 

CRP Awarded Fountain Middle School Project

Fountain School was built in 1903 and served both the middle and high school until 1954 when the original high school was built. In 1999, the current-day high school facility was constructed on the east side of town (designed by CRP and included an addition project in 2011), allowing the existing 1954 building to fully house Fountain Middle School as it remains today. Aragon Elementary now sits on the 1903 site. The images below show the existing building and aerial site plan for the current Fountain Middle School. Due to district growth and need for updated facilities, the administration decided to move forward with the reconstruction of this site, awarding the project to CRP in January of 2016. This continues our nearly 25 year relationship with Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8.

The FMS design, and construction by Art C. Klein Construction, is now complete. 

To make the transition from old to new as smooth as possible, construction is divided into multiple phases that will eventually replace the entirety of the existing school with a brand new facility on the same site. This also allows for students to remain in their current learning environment while the new addition is built on-site. The completed project will provide 200,000 sf of new classrooms, science labs, a student commons, performance stage, athletics gym and administration space. A unique landscape design instills opportunity for outdoor engagement as well as accommodations for various sporting events. The interior design incorporates the FMS school colors with a dynamic twist, using them as way-finding features.


Phase 1 Ribbon Cutting


Phase 2 will include the demolition of the existing school. We will then add the administration suite, two new gymnasiums, locker rooms, a music/bad suite and the second half of the student commons. Stay tuned for more!



August 27, 2016

The opening of Phase 1 of the remodel/addition project was commenced with a ceremonial ribbon cutting in August 2016. While the school colors are maroon and white, the ribbon-cutting was performed with a blue ribbon to celebrate the honor CMHS holds of being a Blue Ribbon School (a prestigious qualification status awarded by the U.S. Department of Education).

Phase 2 was finished in December of 2016, which concluded the entirety of the Cheyenne Mountain Remodel/Addition project. Below is a gallery of images from the grand opening and the finished project, as well as a "look-book" of the design, construction and creative process.

The New Look has everyone asking... "What makes it the Same Mountain?"

At the grand opening, CRP released a commemorative design "look-book" with in-depth information on the school's long-awaited transformation. The booklet includes project facts, insight into the design development, ways that the traditional culture was incorporated into the new facility, building floor plans and more. If you'd like to view or download a PDF version for yourself, click the link below. Or email to have one sent to you.



It was a privilege to work with such talented contractors on this project. Check out this informational project video produced by GE Johnson below.


The best part of our job is watching spaces come to life in ways we could never have imagined on the drawing board. Our newly finished CMHS project is featured as the backdrop to this student-directed music video of the 2017 CHSAA State Champion A Cappella group, Crimson & Slate! Such an honor to see such talent walk, and dance, through these hallways. However, one of the best frames in this video isn't even in a hallway... so make sure to watch through the end! 

Transformation/Throwback Thursday: SAME MOUNTAIN | NEW LOOK

This long awaited transformation went underway in planning back in April 2014. Over two years later, Cheyenne Mountain High School's new look is rapidly taking shape as we near its final completion in 6 months.

A Colorado Springs school district with a high school facility built over 60 years ago is anxious for the completion of their new 21st Century home nestled along the historic Cheyenne Mountain range. Below are some then/now comparison images taken before the school went under construction, compared to their current redevelopment stage.  

The old school lacked the identity of a main entrance. The new entrance fuses the existing gym and the new academic wing and acts as a 'lantern' for the school. (Image from 8-17-16)

THEN (left) - NOW (right)

The new student commons, located where the old patio used to be, offers the opportunity for fresh air and a connection to nature. Multiple exits & glass garage doors allow for all-day access to the outdoors for students. The new commons patio also has access to power and electricity to allow for outdoor concerts, school events, etc. (After Image updated on 8-24-16)

In both images, the wall to the far right is the wall leading into the auditorium. The space was extended out and enclosed to form the new student commons and auditorium main entrance. (After Image updated on 8-3-16)

The difference in the corridors is drastic. No more fluorescent lights and narrow passageways! And unlike the original facility, all corridors will now have access to natural light and outdoor views. (After Image updated on 8-19-16)


  • 105,000 sf of NEW space for the high school
  • Nearly 100,000 sf of existing space is remodeled
  • EVERY classroom will be brand new by January 2017
  • Expanded social circulation corridors (12+ ft wide) 
  • Separate, private corridors for access to classrooms
  • Access to natural light in hallways and classrooms
  • Improved safety with a single, secured access point (the floorplan of the old school had over 120 unlocked and accessible doors at all times of day - Now, after the first bell rings, there will only be ONE public accessible door monitored by a security checkpoint)  
  • Safer/more accessible student parking and new pick up/drop off round-about zone
  • New 8,700 sf student commons with glass garage doors to exterior courtyard
  • An iconic 'front door' - giving the school a much needed, identified main entrance
  • A 'mountain modern' design aesthetic themed throughout the entire project
  • New energy-efficient mechanical systems with air conditioning and heating
  • Personalized classroom/community 'pods' for each department in the entire school
  • New baseball field and new softball field
  • Pieces and concepts from the old school are tied into the new additions (stay tuned as the project develops to learn about how we integrated parts of CMHS history and tradition into the new design)

Students and faculty will move into the Phase 1 buildings in August of 2016... Phases 2 (additional academic wings) will be completed by December 2016! Phase 2 will conclude the entirety of the project.

You may be wondering 'when will we start seeing green?'. As designers, a characteristic of the original school we worked hard to protect was access to natural environments. One feature students have always appreciated about CMHS was the ability to be outdoors in the refreshing mountain air throughout the day. The new design improves overall safety, yet maintains the integrity of this desire by enclosing the largest outdoor courtyard (over 51,000 sf in size) in the state of Colorado. Students will be able to walk outside between classes, enjoy time outside the common's garage doors during lunch, do homework at the outdoor bar-height tables and set up concerts outside with access to electricity/power on the patios - all within the safety of the new campus. It may have a 'new look' but students will still have the same exterior connection they love. While construction progress images don't show it quite yet, we have vibrant visions for new landscaping that will lusciously shape the entire school grounds. Working side by side with Thomas & Thomas, our plans for green space will begin development soon! Click on the images below for a glimpse at the outdoor concepts.

STOP! Let's not forget about #THROWBACKTHURSDAY

As CRP Architects and GE Johnson begin demolition of existing facilities to make way for the new academic wings, we are reminded of some of the unique applications from the past. These 'traffic lights' were originally custom designed to replace a traditional bell system so that local wildlife would not be disturbed by hourly high-pitched bell tones. Only in Colorado. Some alumni have been reminiscing on pieces of Cheyenne history as they prepare to see what new traditions unfold while honoring the ones now retired. 

The “traffic light” encasements scattered throughout the halls stood as a sentinel directing the movements and attention of Cheyenne Mountain High School students throughout the day. There were no bells to signal the end of a class or beginning of a new day. In 1962, the light system was devised to ensure the wildlife surrounding the “new” hillside school would not be disturbed. Bear, mountain lions and deer were common visitors to the school grounds. We governed our social and academic lives through careful surveillance of the light boxes. Laughter and talking would fill the halls as we would all gather between classes. Yet out of the corner of our eye, we would check to see which light was shining. Once the red light started blinking, all socialization ceased as we would scatter to our classroom knowing we only had one minute to get situated into our desks. Then throughout class, our eyes would fixate on the light directing us to how much longer we would need to endure the lecture, complete the test or finalize our experiment. Yellow meant we had 20 minutes left, green gave us hope as it indicated 10 minutes of class remained. And then, the glorious red light would appear celebrating the end of class. Then the routine would begin again. The lights may have come down with the “new-new” school, but the integrity, the traditions and the exceptional education provided to the students will always remain. The redesigned and updated facility will illuminate the lives of hundreds of children for many years to come.
— CMHS Alum, Class of 1981

Special thanks to Cheyenne alum - AGL Drone Services for the progress footage updates!

Reinventing High School

The school you never thought possible is coming soon...


The conversations are happening among Colorado educators and designers... How do we reinvent high school? How do we change our delivery methods and teaching models to better prepare our students to be influential members of a rapidly evolving society?

One charter school has tackled that challenge head-on, turning these questions into an active mission. Launch High School is new, free charter school in Colorado geared towards young entrepreneurs and business-minded high school students. They aim to redefine the high school education track and instill academic knowledge paired with real-world skills and an understanding of a student's role in a bigger community picture. Launch has envisioned an environment that allows students to create and capitalize on opportunities in pursuit of their passions towards social and economic prosperity.

This innovative program is personalized for each student, is project-based and focuses intensely on problem solving skills. The idea is to give students the essential tools for success so that they can define success in their own way that follows the direction of the future they want for themselves - whether that be academically, socially or financially.

A Launch-er embodies the powers of entrepreneurship, self-direction, passion, risk, innovation and tenacity. In compliance with the Post-Secondary & Workforce Ready (PWR) requirements, students will explore a wide array of technology, engineering, digital arts, business, health science, career planning and life skills courses in conjunction with core subject classes. Students are also given the opportunity to develop their own 'electives' and can pursue credits in an area of interest by utilizing community resources. Plus, could you imagine having started your first business AND received your high school diploma all at the same time? That dream is an everyday reality through the Launch High School program.


CRP Architects was brought on as the design team for the future home of Launch High School. While the program is being offered to 9th and 10th graders in August 2016 at a temporary location and then adding 11th and 12th graders by August 2018, the planning for this dynamic facility is underway. As a design team, we've been rapidly developing up-to-the-minute concepts. Together with Launch, we've been exploring the possibilities of combining 21st Century learning spaces, small/large collaboration spaces, presentation surfaces, private work areas, MakerSpace labs, access to technology and flexible rooms/furniture. In the world of education architecture, our firm has been researching the 'future of high school design' for years and are excited to see these conversations coming to life. Below are some preliminary schematic renderings developed for Launch to help drive the process of creating an environment for their programs to flourish and inspire. The official construction start date is still to be determined. 

Not a student but interested in getting involved?

Mentors, community members, volunteers or future board members can get connected HERE

New Construction Leads to New Possibilities

In the most recent publication of the Cheyenne Edition - released on December 11, 2015 - Walt Cooper (Superintendent of School District #12) discussed how the addition/remodel project at CMHS is allowing District 12 to implement new educational programs. Check out the article below or visit 

Exciting progress is being made on the construction of the Cheyenne Mountain High School Addition/Remodel project. Here are some action images straight from the site!