Cheyenne Mountain

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)

WHAT'S BEEN DONE?

  • 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. 

remember.jpg
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!

Moving Up, Topping Out

When driving past Cheyenne Mountain High School, there is no doubt that progress is moving forward rapidly with new steel pushing the building upward each and every day. There comes a sense of reality when things start going vertical; months (more like years) of hard work noticeably coming to life. And as the erection of steel comes to a close, we took the time to honor the work finished and ceremoniously welcome the next construction phases to come.

Today, CRP Architects had the privilege of attending the official "Topping Out" Ceremony for the Cheyenne Mountain High School Remodel/Addition project. This is the day in which the building structure is completed (also known as 'topped out/off') with the last piece of steel. In this case, it was the final beam to be placed. In days previous, the beam was painted white and laid out for current CMHS students and faculty members to sign. There was also an opportunity for members of the strategy team, bond campaign team, DAG members, design team, engineers/consultants and site workers to sign as well.

Over 150 community members were in attendance including various community leaders, the CMSD Board of Education, CMSD Administration, CMHS students and teachers, project engineers and design/construction team members from CRP and GE Johnson. Everyone watched in awe as the monumental crane (approx. 334,000 lbs & almost 300 ft fully extended) lifted the final beam, swung it 360 degrees (by tradition) and then gracefully lowered it into place. Claps, cheers and tears could be heard throughout the crowd as the beam was bolted tightly into place. 

This project was a community effort that began in the beginning of 2014 with the Design Advisory Group and a bond strategy team. So being able to festively thank each of those members for their hard work and allow them to visually grasp the progress two years later was a priceless sentiment. GE Johnson went above and beyond in sponsoring this event and helping all those involved forever encapsulate this special moment in their memories. The momentum going into the final construction phases holds a strong sense of togetherness and excited energy. The entirety of the project will be completed in December of 2016.

While there is no substitute for outstanding teachers, principals, and motivated students, learning environments are critical, too. When students take pride in their schools, it has a positive effect on everything else, from student academic engagement to positive student behavior. There is no comparison to the learning spaces created by CRP Architects and those they’ve replaced, and while difficult to quantify, there is no doubt in my mind that this improved learning environment is an important component of our success.
— Dr. Walt Cooper, Superintendent of Cheyenne Mountain School District #12

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 www.waltpub.com 


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!