Woodland Elementary School

  • area / size 74,000 sqft
  • Completed 2022
  • RTA Architects designed Woodland Elementary School as a bright and thoughtful space for young learners in Aurora, Colorado.

    In response to increasing enrollment in the District, Cherry Creek Schools identified the need to build a new elementary school with funding approved in the 2020 bond. The new Woodland Elementary School now serves approximately 650 students to accommodate future growth and alleviate overcrowding at nearby elementary schools and further the District’s mission, “To inspire every student to think, to learn, to achieve, to care.”

    The selected floor plan was a departure from the District’s clover-leaf prototype and allowed classrooms in the new facility to serve as dynamic, flexible, progressive learning environments capable of supporting multiple modes of teaching, learning, and educational activities. Classrooms are located to the south on the lower level and across the entire arching length of the building on the second level. Grouped by grade level, each flexible classroom cluster is adjacent to an activity commons, allowing for multiple classes to unite for group activities which supports the District’s Five Core Values. The classrooms have overhead garage doors that allow the individual classrooms to be opened into the activity commons. Careful consideration was paid to daylighting, and all classrooms have access to the outdoors. Second-level classrooms feature elevated outdoor classrooms strategically placed between classroom groups.

    The Library and Innovation Center occupy a centrally located position directly opposite the main entry vestibule with direct outdoor connections. Considered a conceptual and visual epicenter of the school, it exists off the main circulation corridor and central stair, easing its access to all grade levels. The Art and Maker Spaces are connected by a moveable partition and placed directly adjacent to the Library through the Green room and AV/Storage room, reinforcing the District’s concept of “No barrier between making, researching, and thinking.”

    Traditional “hallways” are activated and transformed into activity commons via overhead garage doors. Glass operable walls are found between each room. Opening all the garage doors and glass operable doors allows the spaces to act as one large grade-level space. Flexible furnishings enable teachers to configure the rooms as needed.

    Color and energy are found throughout the new Woodland Elementary School and utilized for wayfinding and grade-level identity. A neutral base was used and layered with primary colors in classrooms and secondary colors in common spaces, described by the project’s interior designer as “vanilla ice cream with sprinkles.”

    Colors are more muted in the learning environments, allowing teachers to add personal touches. They then transition to those with more energy in the activity commons and other common spaces throughout the building, reinforcing the school’s tagline, “Be Bold. Be Brilliant. Be a Bear!”

    Design: RTA Architects
    Contractor: JHL Constructors
    Photography: David Lauer Photography