Expeditionary Learning

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.