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RTA Sponsors the Annual Colorado Springs State of the City Address

RTA was honored to again be a sponsor of the annual State of the City address by Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, hosted by the Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC. A big thank you to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Colorado, Children’s Hospital Colorado Springs, and Rocky Mountain Healthcare for joining us as our guests.

The state of the City of Colorado Springs is certainly bright! 

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Shoutout to our amazing drone team!

It’s a bird… it’s a plane…. it’s an RTA drone! Austin Beninga and Joey Bahnsen, two of RTA’s FAA-licensed drone pilots, were given the opportunity to teach students in the Fowler School District about how RTA uses drones during the design process and the rules and regulations that need to be followed to operate drones legally and safely. It’s not every day they get to fly the drone with an audience, and the students were very enthusiastic and intrigued about the technology. It made for an inspiring demonstration!

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RTA Presents Zero Energy Goals of PCHC East Side Clinic to Pueblo Sustainability Groups

RTA and Farnsworth Group had the opportunity to present the Zero Energy goals for the Pueblo Community Health Center’s new East Side Clinic to several groups in Pueblo including Pueblo's Energy Future (PEF), the Southern Colorado Renewable Energy Society(SCRES), the Renewable Energy Owner's Coalition of America (REOCA), the Sangre de Cristo Group of the Colorado Chapter Sierra Club, and members of the Pueblo Mayor's Energy Advisory Council. It was an exciting discussion, and we’re incredibly honored to be a part of Pueblo’s sustainability-focused future!

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Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center Living Building Challenge Video Series: Health & Happiness

Colorado is a destination for visitors from all over the world seeking to connect with the awe-inspiring power of nature, and a healthy indoor environment that nurtures the human/nature connection was a key design goal of the new Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center.

From improved indoor air quality and significantly increased access to natural light and breathtaking views through the expansive windows, learn more about how the new Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center was designed to provide an improved overall experience to maximize the health and happiness for both visitors and staff and the fifth petal of the Living Building Challenge… Health and Happiness.

Strasburg Elementary School Breaks Ground on Addition and Renovation

We had so much fun celebrating the groundbreaking of the Strasburg Elementary School addition and renovation project with the District staff, students, and community members. The project includes a classroom addition with a learning tree, a new light-filled gymnasium, learning communities with unique break-out spaces, and updated playgrounds.

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Beyond the Blueprints: Mike Riggs Takes on the Pikes Peak Ascent

Welcome to Beyond the Blueprints, where we get to know RTA staff beyond their work lives. Join us in discovering the passions and interests of our amazing team!

In this issue, we hear from Associate Principal Mike Riggs and get his thoughts on his first attempt at grueling trek that is the Pikes Peak Ascent, a trail running competition that begins at the base of Pikes Peak, in Manitou Springs, Colorado, and climbs over 7,815 feet to the top of the 14,115-foot Pikes Peak.

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  1. Is this the first time you’ve done the Ascent?

Yes. While I have hiked up Barr Trail, ridden the Cog Railway, hiked down the Barr trail with my family, and drove to the summit every week over the last three years to oversee the construction of the Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center, this is the first time I have attempted to run the Ascent.

  1. Why do you run?

I run to stay healthy, for decompression, and so that I can enjoy all the other activities that make Colorado a special place like skiing, hiking, paddle boarding, and mountain biking.

  1. How did you train for this event?

When I first moved here in 2002, I heard about the Ascent and thought that would be a cool thing to do. As the years passed, I realized I was getting older and it wasn’t going to get any easier. I really started training three years ago to complete a qualifying half marathon time. I had intended to do the ascent in 2020, but the race was cancelled due to the pandemic. That allowed me more training time, which was a good thing.

We are fortunate to have great parks and trails in Colorado Springs with easy access to Bear Creek Park, Monument Valley/Pikes Peak Greenway/Santa Fe Trail, Red Rocks Open Space, the Incline, and Cheyenne Canyon. With abundant trail options I try to squeeze in 30 to 50 miles per week. My kids will occasionally join me on their mountain bikes when I run on more tame trails.

  1. How do you stay motivated?

My daily focus on the tremendous push to finish Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center project over the last 18 months, given the weather and COVID-related delays the project faced, was an ever-present reminder of the challenges of the mountain. Running helps me decompress, so training for the Ascent was a really great thing for my mental health.

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  1. What is your thought process like during the run?

During the Ascent, it is really easy to get caught up in the moment and another person’s race. I tried to keep MY goals in mind, focus on specific segments of the race, and listen to my body. Like most runners, I try to remind myself of why I am running and my goals. Without those it is really easy to lose focus and your drive.

  1. How does your career in architecture relate to your life as a runner?

Running and architecture are as much about the process as they are about the end product.  Running trails is a chance to enjoy a good sunrise or an unexpected Colorado view as much as reaching a finish line. Similarly, the process of working with a group through the unexpected iterations of the design and construction process provides as much joy as seeing the initial construction and creating places for the enjoyment of the masses.

Being an architect requires an attention to detail, strategizing, keeping a broad perspective, and endurance of relentless rigor. Paying attention to your body, knowing when to slow down or run hard, and the ability to push through to an ultimate goal parallel very well to being an architect.

I have learned over the past six years how Pikes Peak is unique and exceptionally challenging.  The Ascent was a great capstone and also an embodiment of those challenges.

  1. Are there any other races you plan to run?

I will be attempting a 55k trail run in Crested Butte at the beginning of October. It will be another unique challenge.

Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center Living Building Challenge Video Series: Energy

"If you can do it on Pikes Peak, you can do it anywhere."

The new Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center goes to unprecedented lengths to conserve and create its own energy. Learn more about some of the techniques used to power this incredible building and the fourth petal of the Living Building Challenge… Energy.

Newton Middle School Celebrates Grand Opening

What better than a beautiful Friday evening for the ribbon cutting and grand-opening ceremony for the new middle school facility for Littleton Public Schools. The 160,000-sf replacement for Newton Middle School was part of the 2018 Bond program. Designed with student centric learning in mind, this school features classroom pods with flex breakout spaces, a learning stair, maker spaces, a cafetorium, outdoor learning spaces, and professional development spaces for LPS teachers. The design also includes space for the District’s NOVA and BEST programs which serve K-12 students with special social and emotional needs and students with autism. Read more about this great project here.

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Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center Living Building Challenge Video Series: Water

"Water is life, especially here in Colorado."

The new Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center is only the second location in Colorado to incorporate a wastewater recycling system. Learn more about how the new Summit Visitor Center is pioneering this technique to conserve and reuse this precious resource and the third petal of the Living Building Challenge… Water.

Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center Living Building Challenge Video Series: Place

“The mountain was not to be conquered. The environment was not an adversary. It was something to try and respond to.”

In part 2 of the video series “Our Road to Sustainability,” RTA Principal Stuart Coppedge and RTA Associate Principal Mike Riggs discuss how the strategic placement of the new Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center was crucial to maintaining and working with the natural environment at the 14,000-foot summit of Pikes Peak. Learn more about the first element, or petal, of the Living Building Challenge… Place.