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Otero Elementary School Renovation

Colorado Springs, CO


Connecting through experience of place.

Through a successful bond measure in the fall of 2018, Harrison School District 2 began their initiative to modernize their existing building infrastructure. The District retained RTA in 2018 to complete renovations for Otero Elementary School.


Ever curious. Ever learning. Ever improving.

In a fully collaborative design effort, RTA led three meetings with the Otero Elementary School Design Advisory Group (DAG) consisting of administrative staff, faculty, parents, and community members. This team set project goals and visions while establishing priorities and voicing support for the needs of school within the context of the established bond approved scope of work.


Purposeful, engaging solutions.

The principle focus of the building improvements was the transition of the library into a Learning Commons. The Otero Elementary Learning Commons was developed through a strategic initiative by the District to impact learning and was constructed as a prototype that will be replicated in other schools across the District. It consists of four primary areas: Collaborate, Literacy, Maker, and Present. The Collaborate area is for group work and as an informal teaching space. The Literacy area focuses on the research side of learning through traditional media as well as digital media. The Maker Space features flexible furniture to accommodate projects of varying sizes, and the Present area is for small or large group presentations and can utilize multiple media.

Other renovations include improvements to the playground and restrooms to improve accessibility, rebranding of the school with a new mascot and logo which was incorporated into new wall graphics in the corridors and gym spaces, miscellaneous finish upgrades, HVAC and lighting improvements, and kitchen renovations. The renovations were constructed while the existing building was occupied.

Project Details

  • Square footage: 50,990 sf
  • Project cost: $4.4M

Design Details

  • BEST Grant project
  • Occupied during construction
  • Conversion of library to Learning Commons, designed as a prototype to be implemented throughout the District
  • Rebranding of the school mascot and logo
  • HVAC and lighting upgrades
  • Restroom and kitchen renovations
  • Playground accessibility improvements
  • Fire alarm and PA system upgrades
  • Photography by Vic Moss