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Chinook Trail Middle School

Colorado Springs, Colorado


Connecting through experience of place.

To accommodate the needs of the growing northern Colorado Springs community, Academy District 20 awarded the design of the new Chinook Middle School to RTA, in conjunction with MOA Architecture as a joint venture, and Bryan Construction.

The new middle school is a part of the existing Chinook Trail Elementary School, featuring close collaboration between the two schools to create a unified K-8 campus. Designed to educate 1,080 students, the new 125,000-square-foot Chinook Trail Middle School is the most innovative project funded through the District's $230 million bond initiative.


Ever curious. Ever learning. Ever improving.

A Visioning Workshop comprised of 33 attendees - including parents, district leadership, a representative from Colorado Springs Utilities, and the Design Advisory Group (DAG) members - kicked off the design effort to develop and articulate the design goals of the project. The DAG was comprised of the principals of Chinook Trail Elementary School, the principals of another district middle school, and district leadership. They met over a dozen times and toured numerous other schools. The design-build team also used input from more than 100 middle-grade students and multiple District user groups to design this new learning environment that supports project-based learning and design thinking.


Purposeful, engaging solutions.

Designed to meet WELL Building Standards, Chinook Trail Middle School will be a healthy building for students and staff throughout its life cycle. The school features high-performance classrooms, flexible learning spaces and furnishings, a state-of-the-art Modular Lab, Colorado-inspired biophilic design and extensive daylighting, and robust technology. Athletic spaces - including a wellness center, gym, and football and softball fields - give students and staff ample opportunities to exercise and play. 

The colorful, daylit Curiosity Center features flexible furnishings and a variety of seating types for individual, small-group, and large-group learning while providing a direct connection to the outdoors. Far from a traditional library, the Curiosity Center encourages students to “Be Curious”, the school’s theme.

The Learning Stair allows teachers, students, and guest speakers to give multi-media presentations and connect to the internet for increased learning opportunities. The Learning Stair also serves as a venue for middle school teams to meet and collaborate.

The cafetorium is another multi-purpose flexible space in the new Chinook Trail Middle School. It is used as a cafeteria on a daily basis, and the retractable seating allows it to become a high-quality performance space for numerous school and community events.


Project Details

  • Square footage: 125,000 sf
  • Project cost: $41.7M 

Design Details

  • Designed to WELL Building standards
  • Supports project-based learning and design thinking curriculum
  • Connection to existing elementary creates a K-8 campus
  • 21st Century learning environments
  • Outdoor learning spaces and dining patio
  • Wellness Center, football field, baseball field, and outdoor track
  • Curiosity Center and Learning Stair
  • Extensive daylighting and sustainable landscape materials
  • Flexible design and furnishings and numerous breakout spaces
  • Robust technology
  • High-performance, easy-to-maintain materials and systems
  • Photography by David Lauer Photography


  • 2020 BESTawards LEARN Category Winner, presented by the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Rocky Mountain Chapter
  • 2019 Best Overall Project, presented by the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) Rocky Mountain Region
  • 2019 Best Education Project, presented by the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) Rocky Mountain Region