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John Adams Elementary Renovation & Expansion

Colorado Springs, CO


Connecting through experience of place.

The John Adams Elementary School serves an under-realized part of Colorado Springs School District 11 and had been closed for about five years. The District envisioned a completely renovated educational facility that to enhanced opportunities for academic success and a sense of pride and ownership for their students.


Ever curious. Ever learning. Ever improving.

Extensive analysis by the Planning Team (teachers, administrators, community members, and RTA’s design team) resulted in a fast-track design that included flexible spaces, improved student safety, and enriched 21st Century learning environments.               


Purposeful, engaging solutions.

The school’s exterior features a layered entry canopy, improved protected drop-off, outdoor seating areas, expanded parking, a new roof, new playgrounds and shade structures, and a synthetic turf play area.

All classrooms received new lighting, flexible furnishings, and technology upgrades. A new controlled entry vestibule enhances safety. A new mechanical system provides air conditioning, while new windows improve thermal performance of the building. New security systems, fire alarm, and technology upgrades are also in place, as well as a full-service kitchen.

The library features flexible furnishes and a large entryway that can be closed with a glass overhead door. It also features a mural hand-created by RTA Interior Designer Greg Johnson. The ceilings were removed in a portion of the space to create an expansive feel that now incorporates daylight and views to the outside. A STEAM lab is connected to the library with a large glass overhead door that can open and expand the size of the library.

After the success of the complete remodel in 2016, RTA was retained by the district to complete a two classroom addition to the west end of the building. Utilizing the same consultant team, RTA completed the addition in September 2018 successfully adding 2,300 sf of usable classroom space and exterior upgrades.

Project Details

  • Square footage: Remodel: 42,793 sf; Addition: 2,300 sf
  • Project cost: $5.9M

Design Details

  • 21st Century learning spaces
  • Fast track design
  • Natural daylighting
  • Views to outside
  • Low maintenance play areas
  • New windows
  • Flexible furnishings
  • Custom artwork
  • Technology infrastructure upgrades
  • STEAM lab
  • Collaborative Planning Team
  • Secure entry
  • Photography by David Lauer