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Coppedge Elected as AIA Director

Stuart CoppedgeStuart Coppedge has been a longtime member and contributor to the American Institute of Architects. Recently, his role took on a whole new dimension.

The RTA Business Development Manager and Associate has served AIA at local and state levels and is currently the 2010/2011 Secretary of the Western Mountain Region Council. Stuart was elected as an AIA National Director, at the 2011 AIA WMR Conference, hosted by AIA Las Vegas.

According to the AIA, "The Board of Directors is responsible for the general management of the affairs of the Institute" which means Stuart will have direct fiduciary responsibility, function as a communication link between the institute and its members, and will provide overall leadership for the western states region. Stuart's will be one of two Western Mountain Regional Directors representing AIA members in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico.

In twenty-four years of AIA membership, Stuart has taken opportunities to develop strong working relationships with key National Component staff and Executive Committee members, while intentionally maintaining an independent voice for the architects of his region. He hopes to continues this balance of national and regional influence throughout his three year term which begins in January of 2012.

RTA Healthcare Architects double surgical capacity at Parker Adventist Hospital

From the exterior, it is impossible to see the change. The RTA Healthcare Design Team created seamless integration between old and new facility at Parker Adventist Hospital and doubled functional capacity.

The $20 million OR/OB expansion project at Parker Adventist Hospital includes 34,000 sq. ft. of new construction and 5,000 sq. ft. of renovation. Five new operating rooms were added to the existing second floor OR suite, along with an additional Patient Acute Care Unit and support space. This addition was made possible by building atop the existing first floor Imaging and Emergency Departments. Above the existing BirthPlace/Obstetrics and Pharmacy, a new 3rd floor level was added for the Obstetrics department. Ten new post-partum beds were added along with a new well-baby nursery and support space. In addition, the existing Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is being renovated and a new recovery room added for C-Section patients. All existing facilities were kept fully operational throughout construction. John Hoelscher, Principal (AIA, ACHA) was most pleased with the way the project allowed for hospital operations to proceed uninterrupted. He explains, "We were able to build on top of the Emergency Rooms without disrupting activity below."
This project was opened in the winter of 2010 and according to Hoelscher, who recently spoke in Chicago at the 2011 Healthcare Facilities Symposium, the new additions were executed so cleanly it "looks like it was there from the beginning."

See 3-D floor plans of the Parker OR/ OB Expansion.

RTA Education Architects watch golf partner sink a hole-in-one and win a car!

School Board President wins car

RTA architects Doug Abernethy and Brian Calhoun witnessed once in a lifetime hole-in-one at the annual 4 Person Golf Scramble for the District 20 Foundation Tournament. Their guest and golf partner Cory Thompson, Board President of the Holly School District, sunk his winning hole-in-one on the 17th hole of the Air Force Academy Foundation's Blue Course. The hole played 193 yards, and Cory sunk it with a five wood -- a one in 10,000,000 shot.

District 20 Foundation, which provides grants for teachers and scholarships for high school students, holds the golf tournament annually to raise funds. This year, Heuberger Subaru provided the hole-in-one prize -- and Cory drove home with a brand new Subaru Forester.

The RTA Education Team congratulates Cory on an amazing car-winning shot!

John Hoelscher and Randy Thorne speak in session about Medical Tourism in Vietnam

news-HCFSRTA Principals John Hoelscher and Randy Thorne spoke about their on-the-boards experience with Medical Tourism at the Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo in Chicago this week.

The Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo, now in its 24th year, is the original event that brings together the entire team who designs, plans, constructs and manages healthcare facilities. The Symposium serves as a forum where leaders share ideas on healthcare delivery improvement and how the physical space directly impacts the staff, patients and their families. Expert sessions, keynote speakers and exhibitor resources help attendees explore ideas, practices, products and solutions which improve current and future healthcare facilities.

Hoelscher and Thorne shared the unlikely story of cross-cultural bonds formed in spite of the project's rather unpredictable beginnings. The Colorado healthcare architects also discussed their discoveries about their Vietnamese client's vision for the project, the importance of cultural context, developing healthcare models, and the International S.O.S. hospital design of the Vietnamese American International Hospital in Hanoi, Vietnam.

View the PDF of their Symposium Session: "Medical Tourism -- Vietnamese American International Hospital: A Case Study"

RTA healthcare team chosen for Banner Health "Select List" of architects

Banner Health LogoThe RTA Healthcare Architects Team was recently chosen as part of Banner Health's "select list of architects". As one of three architecture firms to be added to this list in Colorado, RTA will provide design services in an ongoing capacity for the non-profit healthcare provider.

Banner Health is one of the largest non-profit hospital systems in the United States. With operations in seven states, Banner provides nearly $80 million a year in Charity Care and employs more than 35,000 people in 23 hospitals and healthcare facilities.

RTA was selected for future consideration on Banner's medium to large projects. The firm was selected on the basis of a tight criteria including expertise in healthcare trends and experience with providing phased renovation within occupied spaces.

Healthcare architect Kevin Gould, AIA, responded to the selection with enthusiasm, "RTA's specific abilities are a match for Banner Health's improvement projects. We look forward to the opportunity to assist Banner in their growth in this region."

RTA Hosts Downtown Partnership

Downtown Partnership mixerThe Colorado Springs Downtown Partnership chose the RTA offices to be the site of their quarterly Membership Mixer. The late afternoon gathering included light hors d'oeuveres provided by the Springs Rescue Mission, wine by Vintages Wine and Spirits, and hand-crafted ale by Phantom Canyon Brewing Company.

Approximately 90 guests mingled around the third floor of the historic Hibbard Building (repurposed, updated and designed in 1997 by RTA Principal Perry Lewis).

Earlier in the week, the RTA offices had experienced a whirlwind clean-up by architects who are prone to living around creative piles of paper, samples, drafts, and construction documents. Downtown merchants and business owners enjoyed touring the newly tidied office and many comments were made about the open design and interesting office space.

The mixer also provided ample opportunity for business connections. RTA owner and Principal Randy Thorne said, "It was a great opportunity for me to reconnect with a bunch of business associates that I hadn't seen for a while. We appreciated the exposure."

Award-Winning school design - Arapahoe Ridge project honored

Arapahoe Ridge High School

The American Institute of Architects (AIA), Colorado South Chapter, recognized its 2011 architectural design awards recipients during a ceremony on Friday, Aug. 19, at the Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center on the Colorado College campus in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

AIA Honor Award for Built Architecture

RTA architects Michael Riggs and Doug Abernethy attended the ceremony and received the Honor Award for Built Architecture for Arapahoe Ridge High School (Boulder, Colorado). RTA was selected from nine entries submitted by architect members of AIA Colorado South. The awards were presented by Jury Chair Michael Crow, AIA.

RTA has longstanding experience in Boulder, and continues to partner on multiple school design projects with the Boulder Valley School District.

About AIA South
For more than 150 years, members of The American Institute of Architects (AIA) have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. AIA Colorado South is one of four chapters within the AIA Colorado component. This chapter is comprised of members from 18 counties in south and southeastern Colorado and includes the cities of Colorado Springs, Alamosa, Pueblo and La Junta.

RTA Critical Care Unit Design

Recently one of RTA's Critical Care Unit designs was included in a submittal for an CCU Citation Award for Best CCU Design of the year.

Centura Health Colorado chose RTA to design the Critical Care Unit at Parker Adventist Hospital in Parker, Colorado. The newly completed CCU is a stand-out project because it demonstrates unique design goals and criteria.

GOAL: The construction of a Critical Care Unit using proven evidence based design concepts that integrate the organization's core values: compassion, respect, integrity, spirituality, stewardship, imagination, and excellence.

The Parker CCU project also demonstrates the following criteria:

  • Commitment to creating a healing environment
  • Commitment to promoting safety and security
  • Commitment to efficiency
  • Attention to innovative, unique aesthetic and creative design features

See the layout to get a broader picture of RTA's state-of-the-art critical care design at Parker.

Bear Creek Elementary School Renovation/Addition is now up and running.


The new Bear Creek Elementary School renovation/addition is now open for the school year!

After a year of careful planning and safe construction around occupied educational spaces, students in Boulder Valley School District will have the opportunity to walk through the new facility. RTA project architect, Michael Riggs says the facility is "designed for kids and community interaction" and intentionally "takes advantage of the spectacular mountain views" of the Boulder Flatirons.

An Open House is scheduled for September 19.

The RTA Education Team for Bear Creek Elementary included: Doug Abernethy (Principal in Charge), Michael Riggs (Project Architect), Rick Taves (Construction Administration), James McConnell (Drafting) and Jessica Ramos (Interior Architecture).

(Photo Courtesy of Jeff Finkelstein)

"The Story of University Village Colorado" describes an Urban Renewal success story

University Village - Veda Salon

University Village Colorado is a 70 acre success story. Situated near the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs campus, the site was formerly a mish-mash of properties which had become a liability to the urban landscape. Through the efforts of the Urban Renewal Authority the area was revitalized as an economic development tool.

This mini-documentary tells the story of dirt-movers, burning buildings, design inspritation and construction, all through the eyes of all the collaborating experts.

Watch for the RTA Architects: Site plans shown for UVC were orignally drawn by RTA Principal, Perry Lewis. And Associate Principal, Doug Abernethy, comments on the design process ... and ice cream!

"Adaptive Re-Use: Reclaiming Old Spaces" in Colorado Real Estate Journal


Jessica Ramos and Greg Johnson are the core of RTA's Interior Design team. As designers, they create and enhance the human experience within built environments.

In this article for the Colorado Real Estate Journal, Jessica talks about her renovating work at the Margery Reed project in Colorado Springs and the transforming possibilities of adaptive re-use.

Do you have a question about reclaiming an old space? Contact us.

John Hoelscher, RTA healthcare design specialist, responds to questions about the future of architecture

John Hoelscher

John Hoelscher, RTA healthcare design specialist, responded to questions about the future of architecture in a One on One feature with Rob Larimer of the Colorado Springs Business Journal.

In the Q&A, John mentions the challenges that face the architecture industry as a whole, and RTA specifically. He states, "Our challenge is to find ways that will take us out of the commodity status and bring real unique value to our clients." The rest of John's responses are available at Colorado Springs Business Journal.

GEO Workshop at RTA

The Colorado Governor's Energy Office is recharging the high performance design community in Colorado by delivering customized workshops to audiences across the state. These workshops offer interactive discussion on incorporating high performance design into buildings.

May 23, 2011 - Practically Zero: The Colorado Path to Net Zero Buildings 201

This workshop will provide ways to define, design and attain realistic energy performance goals while still meeting the minimum energy performance requirements. Attendees will, be provided examples and ideas to achieve Net Zero Energy use cost-effectively. Please bring your specific questions.

RTA will be hosting this event at our offices at 19 S. Tejon in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Feel free to come and bring your associates.

This workshop has been approved by the AIA for 2.0 LU/HSW/SD Credits.

Holly Through the Lens

Student photography informs architectural design in a joint venture between RTA and the Holly School District in rural Colorado.

Holly is a wind-swept rural farming town on the border of Kansas and Colorado. The tiny community has survived devastating tornadoes and long dry seasons. Last year, Holly chose RTA to master plan and design their brand new school facility. As a joint venture between RTA Inc. and the Holly School District, RTA Intern, Allison Johnson, taught a short course in photography to students who will one day walk the halls of a new RTA-designed Holly School Campus.

Why Photography?
In addition to her work as an Architectural Intern, Allison has a passion for capturing life with her camera. She explains, "What I love about photography is that ability to capture something and demonstrate the way you see the world. Photography is not just learning how to expose, compose and frame a shot. Photography is seeing what is around you, and learning how to capture it. The Holly students learned how to see, and in turn, helped RTA see the Holly community through their eyes."

The Goal.
Twelve junior high and high school students, and two faculty from the school participated in a voluntary class that met 3 times during RTA's Design Advisory Group process. Allison's goal for the class was two-fold:

  • To teach students and review fundamentals of photography and to inspire them as young photographers.
  • For Holly students to teach the RTA design team about Holly, Colorado and ultimately give regional insight to the team about Holly culture, architecture, traditions and community.

The class began by exploring the fundamentals of photography. On March 25, they set out down the streets and sidewalks. The group took a photo walk of Holly.

Story Walk.
Allison describes their photo walk as an unfolding of stories. "Armed with our cameras and tennis shoes, we walked the streets of Holly. The students pointed out their homes and I met some of their grandparents; we visited a new foal at the large animal vet clinic and we walked the path of the tornado that devastated Holly three years prior. I was told to go to “Jack’s” for the best chicken fried steak in the country.

I learned of their resilience and how the town had banded together in the face of tragedy.

They told these stories and, when asked, began to see the places in town that are regularly overlooked because they never change. Rarely are people asked to look. That happens to us all, doesn’t it? Though there is irony in this, we rarely see the things we look at every day."

Insight for the Architects.
The photos taken by the photography class helped the RTA team to see deeper into the community. Allison observed the way the stories and images brought insight to the group of "outsiders" in a way that would help them understand and create a building that is appropriate, sensitive, and inspired by the community and culture of Holly. "These photographs, along with the residents of Holly, welcome us in to a place of familiarity and comfort. In this process, Holly now feels like an old friend, rather than a new acquaintance. I am confident this familiarity only helps us serve our client better."

A New Way of Seeing.
For the last class in this series, Allison pinned up each student’s 10 photos and had a class conversation. She explains, "We discussed what was artistically strong about certain images, and what might improve others. We discussed the subjects of the photos and what stories the photos told us about their community. We divided up these topics and each student presented two to three photos to the Design Advisory Group."

In the end, the students came to understand more than just the mechanics of their cameras. Allison sums it all up this way:

"They continued to amaze me. One student said, “I didn’t realize how much we have here.” They stepped back and saw how much their town had to offer. They saw the beauty in the seemingly mundane. They saw their town with new eyes.

They discovered this through a lens."