Originally constructed in 1925 to serve as the high school, Cañon City Middle School had undergone numerous additions and renovations over its 94-year history. After extensive analysis by the District of the condition and quality of the facility (especially as it related to its instructional environment), Cañon City Schools retained RTA in 2018 to renovate the building and design an addition for the school.
In a fully collaborative design effort, RTA led seven meetings with the 17-member Design Advisory Group (DAG) where staff, teachers, and District personnel had opportunities to evaluate the three site options and classroom concepts. The design team also led tours of eight other Colorado schools. Retention of historic elements of the original 1925 building was a key focus of the design.
The central site feature of the new middle school will be the courtyard to be created between the existing gymnasium, the existing 1925 building that includes the original chimney, and the new addition along 12th street. The chimney from the original building will be visible from most locations on the middle school campus, creating a unique wayfinding feature.
21st Century classrooms and the library will feature flexible collaboration spaces for break-out sessions and small groups. Science classrooms for 6th and 7th grades will connect via a sliding door into their respective Maker Space, and the Synergy Lab and Tech Lab will also have the ability to connect through a sliding glass door for flexibility and visibility. The Commons will act as a commons / cafeteria as well as an auditorium. It is envisioned that this space will be the "heart" of the school and have a direct connection to the courtyard so that both spaces can be used on good weather days.
The new building addition will be constructed while the existing building is occupied and will require multi-phased demolition and construction which is expected to be completed in mid 2021.